Licensing

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About licensing

Licensing plays an important role in the prevention of crime, disorder and public nuisance as well as preventing unfair trading and safeguarding local businesses and community groups. It gives you the chance to have a say and be more involved in your community.

Getting involved in decisions

Licensing Registers

You can access the Cheshire East Online Licensing Applications here.

You can view the Public Registers at our licensing offices in Macclesfield and Crewe during office hours.

How we will contact you

The Licensing Team have set procedures for making contact with members of the public:

  • By telephone  – If you contact us by telephone we will try to respond within 5 working days
  • By email or letter – If you contact us by email or letter will try to respond within 10 working days

There will be times of peak demand or complex queries when we may not be able to meet these timescales. In these circumstances we will try to respond as soon as possible.

The Council is mindful of our impact on the environment; because of this we will try to avoid contact by post. This means we will use email addresses and telephone numbers to contact you. You should ensure that any spam/junk mail setting in respect of your email accounts take this into consideration.

The Licensing Team will always issue licences or replacement licences through the post.

Privacy notice

Licensing general privacy notice

COVID-19: Changes to our Licensing services

Advice and guidance for current licence holders and new applicants on changes to our Licensing service

This guidance is for current licence holders and anyone planning to apply for a new licence. It explains the changes we are making to our Licensing services to help minimise the disruption caused to licence holders by COVID-19.

Everyone has a role to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19. Licence holders, including taxi and private hire car drivers, are reminded to follow Government advice including advice on isolation if you have symptoms.

Please continue check the Government Guidance, which is being updated regularly. 

General Guidelines on Changes to the our Licensing service

Face to Face Appointments

We have taken the difficult decision to close the Customer Contact Centre to applicants and licence holders. This decision has not been taken lightly and is a direct result of the information from Government. We must consider the health of those working in the Customer Contact Centre as well as the health of those who will be attending.

Committee Meetings

All meetings of the Licensing Committee and its Sub-Committees have now restart.

Submitting Applications

We are asking customers to only submit essential applications. Please be aware that it may take some time to review and process your application. You should expect most applications to take longer than normal to process.

Guidance for Taxi and Private Hire Car/Driver Licence Holders

New applications

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic we are currently not accepting any new grant applications for joint driver licences.

Renewal applications

The way we process renewal applications has changed, please see Taxi Guidance Covid-19 (PDF, 230KB) for guidance.

Knowledge Tests

All Knowledge Tests have been postponed. Please do not attend any test sessions you may have booked. The Licensing Team will contact you as soon as possible to re-arrange the test.

Vehicle Test

Our vehicle test centres are now open. When you contact us to make payment the officer will also book your vehicle in for test. New rules have been implemented at both our testing station for your safety and the testers. Please find the new rules below:

Please keep in mind that the test centres are running at a reduced capacity currently. 

Medicals (renewal applications only)

We are mindful of the pressures that the NHS and GPs are currently experiencing. On that basis you can submit your application without this information. Please declare if you have had any medical issues since your last application that we need to know about. Provided we have no cause for concern your renewal application will be processed and a licence issued. You will be required to provide a medical within 3 months. This time limit may be extended if COVID-19 continue to impact on NHS services. You will be contacted directly if this affects you.

Temporary protective screen

The Licensing Team have received multiple queries and requests regarding temporary protective screening being added to vehicles. For guidance regarding this please see Temporary protective screen Guidance (PDF, 155KB)

Face Masks

The Licensing Team have received multiple queries regarding the use of face masks by passengers and drivers. For guidance regarding this please see Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators

Guidance from the Department for Transport

Guidance for staff in the transport sector

The Department for Transport and Public Health England has issued guidance to transport sector workers. Furthermore the Department for Transport have also issued a Taxis and Private Hire Vehicle Q&A (PDF, 379KB).

Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19): sector guidance

We are aware that the taxis and private hire vehicle trade are undertaking delivery work – please see the section on ‘Deliveries’ as well as ‘Transport businesses’. Measures contained in the section on ‘Use of private vehicles and car pooling’ would apply to the taxi and private hire vehicle sector e.g. maintain good ventilation.

Insurance for undertaking deliveries

Association of British Insurers (ABI) motor insurance members have committed to support taxi and private hire drivers seeking alternative sources of income: licenced taxi or private hire drivers that had hire or reward insurance in place, as of 8 March, will not need to contact their insurer to extend their your existing cover while driving this vehicle to carry parcels, medical supplies, household goods, groceries or takeaway meals during the Covid-19 restrictions.

The ABI’s commitment will be in place until the end of the Covid-19 restrictions, or until 31 July 2020, whichever is sooner.

Cleaning of non-healthcare settings

Public Health England have provided guidance on the cleaning of non-healthcare settings, this is available at Gov.uk - COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings.

Driver licensing Medicals

It will remain a matter for licensing authorities whether to issue or renew a taxi or private hire vehicle driver licence. We aware of the current difficulties in obtaining medical examination reports, such as those used for the Group 2 HGV and bus driver entitlements that many taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities base their assessments on. As part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the we are reviewing the position on Group 2 medical assessments.

Offers of assistance from the trade

We have received many offers of assistance from the trade, to co-ordinate the offers and assistance needed we are requesting that all offers of services be directed to: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business; this will help us to ensure all such offers are received by the correct team leading on a particular issue and responded to quickly.

Assisting the trade

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. More information on the scheme is available at Gov.uk - check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The above is perhaps particularly relevant to the taxi and PHV trade but it is part of the measures announced, e.g. changes to Universal Credit - more info is available at Gov.uk - support for those affected by COVID-19.

Assistance for businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. More information on the measures is available at Gov.uk - financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Advice for businesses Covid-19

Reopening of restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Guidance has now been released on how to reopen businesses safely during the Covid 19 pandemic, please read Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services before opening your business up to members of the public.

Automatic entitlement for temporary off sales

The Business and Planning Act 2020 has been issued granting premises licences, which are licenced for the sale of alcohol, a temporary entitlement to provide off sales of alcohol. However the permission is only given to businesses with premises licences, so those organisations with club premises certificates are not covered by the provisions in the Act. Where organisations with club premises certificates that do not permit off-sales, those organisations will need to seek permission to do so from the licensing authority. In addition, a premises licence that only permits on-sales will be excluded if, within the three years preceding on day 22 July 2020:

  • a premises licence application was made for a licensed premises and permission for off-sales was refused
  • a licence variation seeking permission for off-sales was refused
  • a licence variation seeking to exclude the off-sales permission was accepted
  • the premises licence was varied or modified on review to exclude off-sales

If you are making use of the new temporary permission for off-sales, a section 172F statement must be prominently displayed at the premises alongside the summary of your premises licence. The premises licence holder can either prepare there own statement or use the licensing teams template 172F statement (PDF, 74kb).

Failure to comply with these requirements without reasonable excuse is an offence. For more information please see Alcohol licensing: guidance on new temporary off-sales permissions

Premises with a Premises Licence (under Licensing Act 2003) who want to operate an alcohol delivery service

Cheshire East Council understands that licensed premises with a Premises Licence or a Club Premises Certificate may look to change their business model and diversify in order to maintain their business during this time.

A Pub, off licence, or Club will be able to offer an alcohol delivery service but can only do so if their existing Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate (your Licence/Certificate) includes the provision of ‘off sales’ of alcohol. In respect of Clubs this must be to members only.

Complying with the law

You need to have Alcohol ‘Off Sales’ on your Licence/Certificate. In the conditions on your Licence/Certificate there must not be any condition that prohibits or restricts this activity. If there are relevant conditions on the Licence/ Certificate then these must be adhered to.

The supply of alcohol would have to be done (dispatched) from the premises that is detailed in the Licence/Certificate, and no other premises.

You can only operate this service within the hours for alcohol sales in your Licence/Certificate (so for example if your alcohol sales finishes at 2300 hrs then you must stop all online or telephone ordering at this time – for this reason we expect that alcohol is paid for at the time of ordering AND NOT on the doorstep).

Only a person who is over 18 years old can purchase the alcohol, so there needs to be a reasonable process in place to check this is able to be done at point of order. If this cannot be done then it is expected that the order is declined.

If you are delivering alcohol then there needs to be a comprehensive policy in place to make sure it is received by someone who is over 18 years of age. It is useful to adopt the Check 25 process when the alcohol is passed from courier to customer. Photo ID of the person receiving is essential and if your delivery driver cannot verify age then the delivery should not be made.

Contact-free delivery

Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy, so you could consider requesting Photo ID be left for examination on the floor at the door of your customer, once checked (via through window or closed see through door if possible) the ID can be left with the delivery rather than physically handing it over to them. If this is not possible, knock on the door, step back at least 2 metres, request ID for checking and leave the order nearby on the property for your customer to collect. Payment for the goods including delivery charge must be made at point of order. There should be no a cash payment at delivery.

Hands

Regardless of the availability of hand sanitisers, all goods handlers should regularly wash their hand using warm running water, hand soap and drying with disposable towels. Remember effective hand washing takes time.

Support for business

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. See Gov.uk - COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses.