Village halls' views sought on new alcohol licence
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

Village halls are being urged to make their views known on a new form of licence which will allow community groups and small businesses to sell small amounts of alcohol over a year for a ‘small fee’.

ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) wants hall management committees to respond to a Home Office consultation on the Community and Ancillary Sales Notice (CAN).

The rural charity runs an information and advice service for the 80,000 volunteers who run England’s 10,000 village halls through its nationwide Network of rural community councils.

Village Halls Manager Deborah Clarke said: “The CAN will be a new ‘light touch’ authorisation under the Licensing Act 2003 which will benefit small businesses and community groups who wish to sell or give away limited amounts of alcohol as part of a wider service.

“ACRE believes the CAN will be useful for community events and for village halls whose only provision of alcohol is at small, low-risk events, such as a fundraiser, where everyone has a glass of wine or two.

“The Home Office would like to hear views on how much alcohol should be allowed to be sold under a CAN. It is also asking how community group should be defined; how much alcohol should be allowed to be sold by community groups under a CAN and how frequently a community group should be allowed to provide alcohol under their CAN. There is also a question about the levels of fees.

“We are urging village halls to make their voices heard. They can respond to ACRE by December 8, or to the Home Office directly by December 9.”

Full details about the CAN and the consultation are available in an ACRE briefing.

Temporary Event Notices (TEN) will continue to be available and limits of 12 per premises per year will be raised to 15 from January 2016.

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