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Last Updated: Friday, 5 August 2005, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Dry Christmas fear over licences
Pub bar
Pubs face a ban on serving alcohol if new licences are not obtained
Some pubs in Wales could be left without a licence to sell alcohol over Christmas if the deadline to apply for a new licence is not met.

Businesses have until Saturday before a justices' licence is replaced by one from a local authority under new laws.

If premises do not submit an up-to-date application, they may be able to serve only soft drinks at Christmas.

In some areas, like Swansea and the Vale of Glamorgan, fewer than half the licensed premises have applied.

People don't seem take it seriously enough, but we could have dry pubs over Christmas
Brian Griffiths, Cardiff council

In Cardiff, just over half of all venues have delivered the forms, while in Carmarthenshire and in Gwynedd, 60% of applications have been received.

If the applications are not received by Saturday, any venue serving alcohol will lose its current rights and will need to apply from scratch for a licence in the same way as a new business.

If that is not granted by 24 November, the sale of alcohol will be banned.

Brian Griffiths, chair of licensing for Cardiff council, said: "If it's not done by 24 November, they cannot sell alcohol.

"People don't seem take it seriously enough, but we could have dry pubs over Christmas."

Man drinking beer
Some venues may be left unable to serve alcohol

Mr Griffiths said: "There is a possibility that if there were enough objections against that application, from the police or from residents, they could have the licence refused altogether. No pub - it's as simple as that."

Under previous licensing laws, a licence for alcohol was separate from an entertainment licence, but under the new regulations there is one all-encompassing permit.

John Sicolo, owner of TJ's live music venue in Newport, said similar venues to his own could be affected by missing the licensing application deadline.

He added: "My concern is that if the applications are not put in on time, they might be refused.

"This will cut down the number of live music venues. The music scene is giving a lot young people an opportunity to pursue a career."

Also affected by the new laws are village halls where alcohol is served.

New laws state that if village halls want to hold more than 12 events a year serving alcohol, they need a full licence with a named licensee.

Lisvane Memorial Hall in Cardiff cannot find anyone willing to be named as licensee and face being limited to fewer events serving alcohol.

Keith Wilson, chair of the hall, said: "We would soldier on, probably at a lower level.

"But it's the charities that will suffer - we're the means by which they make their money."


SEE ALSO:
All-day drink licences available
07 Feb 05 |  UK Politics
Pubs warned over licence shake up
29 Apr 05 |  Berkshire


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