EVENT organisers are being advised to apply in plenty of time for their alcohol licences - or risk not securing them at all.
Every event in Moray where alcohol is being sold needs an Occasional Licence issued by Moray Council.
The number of events needing such licences has soared over the last few years – last year nearly 400 licences were issued – with many applications submitted at the last minute.
Until now, staff have accepted late applications and tried their best to issue a licence on time for an event - but this won’t be the case in the future.
To ensure all licences can be issued in time for events, a 28-day minimum period between submission of an application and the issue of occasionals is now being enforced.
Chair of Moray’s Licensing Board, Cllr Gordon Cowie, backed the move.
“Applications of this kind are taking up more than their fair share of licensing resources,” he said.
“It also means applicants who do apply for the licences they need in good time are being pushed back and made to wait by those who apply at short notice. If we didn’t take this action, there was a real danger that they wouldn’t receive their licence on time.
“Most events are planned well in advance and this should include applying for any licence, so I would urge anyone planning an event to get their application in as early as possible.”
Part of the processing for an occasional licence is a 21-day consultation period for bodies such as Police Scotland to respond to the Licensing Board and seven days public notice.
Cllr Cowie confirmed that if an application is made without giving the minimum 28 clear days’ notice it will be rejected and returned unprocessed, adding that given the processing problems it’s fairer to reject late applications, so the fee can be returned, than accept it and not be able to process and issue a licence in time.
There is still an occasional licence application process for events that can only be planned at short notice, typically funeral teas and wakes. For any other types of event that cannot be planned the Licensing Board will consider the short-notice application, but forgetting to apply in time will not be considered.
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 95,510 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.