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Variations and transfer of premises licence
Please note that at the moment, council offices are closed and officers are working from home due to coronavirus. There may be a delay in processing paper application. Find out more about changes to licensing services.
A variation application is required when it’s proposed that any of the following licence details are to be changed or deleted:
- Any of the licence conditions
- Any of the information contained within the operating plan
- Any other information contained or referred to in the licence
- The layout plan
A variation application must be accompanied by the original Premises Licence or a statement of the reasons for failure to produce the licence.
There are two kinds of variation:
It makes a difference because:
- Minor Variations can be granted quickly, without a Board hearing, whereas Major Variations can only be granted after a Board Hearing
- Minor Variations are cheap (£20 or £31 depending on what you want), whereas Major Variations are £350
If the same application form contains a mixture of Minor Variations and Major Variations, you pay only the single higher fee, so it is a good idea to include all the changes you want on a single form.
A common example of a Minor Variation is where you have to amend the premises licence to substitute a new premises manager because the previous manager has left. In that case, you will probably want the variation to have immediate effect, which costs £31.
In the legislation 'Minor Variation' means:
- Any variation of the Layout Plan that doesn’t result in any inconsistency with the operating plan – a variation to the layout which increases the capacity, for on-sales this means the number of customers and for off-sales, the size of the display is not a Minor Variation (for example if a shop wants to add more shelves, this is a Major Variation)
- Any variation which increases the restrictions of the terms on which under 18s are allowed entry to the premises
- Any variation of the information contained in the licence relating to the premises manager
- Any reduction to licensed hours or capacity
The term 'Minor Variation' is set by legislation, so it is not simply a question of asking whether the change would be 'minor' in ordinary language. A Major Variation is any other variation.
Common examples of a Major Variation are where the Board is asked to add an outdoor drinking area or to vary or remove some of the licence conditions (some of the conditions are based on the legislation, and so the Board cannot change those).
Major variations are subject to the same procedures for giving notice and making objections and representations, as a premises licence application.
A premises licence holder may apply to the Licensing Board for the transfer of the premises licence. This is known as a section 33 transfer.
A person other than the holder of a premises licence may within 28 days of the occurrence of any of the events below, apply to the Licensing Board for the transfer to that person of the premises licence. This is known as a section 34 transfer.
Those events referred to are:
- the premises licence holder, being an individual dies or becomes incapable within the meaning of section 1 (6) of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000
- the premises licence holder, being an individual, a partnership or a company, becomes insolvent
- the premises licence holder, being a person other than an individual, a partnership or a company, is dissolved
- the business carried on in the licensed premises to which the licence relates is transferred (whether by sale or otherwise) to another person
A transfer application must be accompanied by the original premises licence or a statement of the reasons for failure to produce the licence.
An application to transfer a premises may also contain a variation, for example if the premises is being sold the new owner may wish to change the premises manager and the operating hours of the premises. Applications for transfer that include Major Variations if the same application form contains a mixture of Minor Variations and Major Variations, you pay only the single higher fee, so it is a good idea to include all the changes you want on a single form.
How to apply
Before you apply please read our variation of premises licence guidance notes (pdf 151KB) and/or transfer of licence guidance notes (pdf 217KB). These notes explain how to complete the application form and the policies and legislation surrounding this licence.
Complete a Variation of Premises Licence Application Form (pdf 251KB) or Transfer of Premises Licence Application Form (pdf 351KB) and return it to:
Your application will be advertised for 21 days to allow members of the public to make any objections or representations. If you do not give the Board enough time before the Board meeting dates then your case will be delayed until the next meeting.
Whatever kind of variation or transfer you want, you must send back the original premises licence, or give the Board a written statement of the reasons for failing to produce it.
The fees for Variations are as follows:
- a Minor Variation is £20
- a change of premises manager is £31
- a Major Variation is £350
The fees for a transfer of premises licence are as follows:
- a transfer excluding Variation is £180
- a transfer including Minor Variation is £200
- a transfer including a change of premises manager is £211
- a transfer including a Major Variation id £530
If your application is refused the fee is not refunded or reduced because you did not get all the variations you asked for. Cheques or postal orders should be made payable to ‘Aberdeenshire Council’. You can also pay by visiting the relevant service point. Unfortunately we are unable to accept payment by BACs.