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Home   Business   Licences and permits   Food, alcohol and gambling licences   Licensing Policy Statement consultation

Licensing Policy Statement consultation

You are invited to make comments by email or letter on the proposed Licensing Policy Statement 2018-22 (PDF, 42kb).

These should arrive no later than 1 October 2018.

The present position

The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 regulates the sale of alcohol in Scotland. It is administered by licensing boards.

Every licensing board must publish a Licensing Policy Statement (LPS). This sets out its policy for carrying out its functions under the act.

The next LPS must be adopted before 4 November 2018.

When exercising their functions, boards must consider the LPS in addition to the circumstances of any individual case.

The LPS can create a rebuttable presumption that a case should be determined in a certain way. But, it will always be open to applicants or objectors to persuade the board that the policy should not be followed in a particular case.

As part of its LPS, the board also needs to assess potential overprovision of licensed premises in North Ayrshire.

Licensing objectives

The content of the LPS is left up to individual boards, but the policies must seek to promote the licensing objectives (LOs).

These are stated in Section 4 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005:

  • preventing crime and disorder
  • securing public safety
  • preventing public nuisance
  • protecting and improving public health
  • protecting children and young people from harm 

View the current LPS and its supporting documents.


The board must consult before it decides on a LPS.

As well as inviting members of the public to comment, the board is inviting the following to make representations as to what the next LPS should contain:

  • The Local Licensing Forum
  • NHS Ayrshire & Arran
  • Police Scotland
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue
  • All active Community Councils in North Ayrshire
  • Community Justice Ayrshire
  • North Ayrshire Drug and Alcohol Partnership
  • North Ayrshire Council's Protective Services Department

When the board considers what the next LPS should contain, they will review any responses received.

The alcohol licensing system

The previous system was based on the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976, and the only licences related to individual premises.

The 2005 Act system has both Premises Licences and Personal Licences.

Premises Licences

Premises Licences are similar to the 1976 Act Licences.

But, the board now regulates members' clubs in addition to the following:

  • public houses
  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • off-sales
  • other premises that had licences under the 1976 Act system

There are about 400 Premises Licences in North Ayrshire.

The legislation applies some mandatory conditions. These conditions apply across Scotland. Local boards cannot change them.

In addition, local boards are entitled to apply their own conditions to reflect the LPS and LOs. In North Ayrshire, Standard Conditions were adopted in May 2008. These have been reviewed and amended since.

A Premises Licence lasts indefinitely, although with an annual fee.

Personal Licences

Personal Licences were introduced by the 2005 Act.

Many people working in licensed premises have Personal Licences, and those who do not must have statutory training.

Most licensed premises must have at least one Personal Licence holder. Many have two or more.

There are about 1,600 Personal Licences in North Ayrshire.

Unlike Premises Licences, there are no conditions (mandatory or local) for Personal Licences.

A Personal Licence lasts 10 years, but can be renewed indefinitely. Holders must undertake refresher training every 5 years to make sure that their knowledge of licensing law is up to date.

Premises which are not otherwise licensed, such as community halls, may apply for temporary Occasional Licences. These last for the duration of a function, such as a wedding reception or party.

Each year about 900 Occasional Licences are granted in North Ayrshire.

The board cannot refuse an Occasional Licence or Personal Licence due to overprovision.


The application of the board's Overprovision Policy in a particular case is affected by two issues:

  • the locality of the premises
  • the function type of the premises


The board has determined that there are six localities in their area. These coincide with the six locality areas used by the North Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership.

These are:

  • North Coast - Skelmorlie, Largs, Isles of Cumbrae, Fairlie, Seamill and West Kilbride
  • Three Towns - Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston
  • Kilwinning - including Pennyburn, Blacklands, Whitehurst Park, Woodside
  • Irvine and area - Irvine, Bourtreehill, Cunninghamhead, Dreghorn, Gateside, Girdle Toll, Springside and Torranyard
  • Garnock Valley - Auchentiber, Barrmill, Beith, Dalry, Glengarnock, Kilbirnie
  • Isle of Arran

Function types

These are as follows:

  • off-sales premises
  • nightclubs, or parts of premises which operate as nightclubs
  • other on-sales premises - for example, public houses
  • hotels, restaurants and other on-sales premises whose principal function is the provision of accommodation, 
  • meals or non-alcoholic refreshment and the supply of alcohol for consumption is only ancillary to that purpose
  • members' clubs which are entitled to the special treatment allowed by Section 125 - by statute, these are not included in the overprovision assessment
  • members' clubs which have chosen to give up their entitlement to that special treatment - these are sometimes called Part K Clubs


The board's 2013-2018 Overprovision Policy is as follows:

  1. Everywhere in North Ayrshire is overprovided. If there is an application for a new licence, or for an increase in display capacity, there is always a presumption of refusal, no matter which function type is involved.
  2. The presumption of refusal is stronger if the premises are in a locality where applications are especially unlikely to be granted (all of North Ayrshire apart from North Coast and Isle of Arran).
  3. The presumption against is stronger if the premises have any function type except for hotels and restaurants. But, even if the premises are in hotels or restaurants the board can still refuse due to its Overprovision Policy.
  4. If points 2 and 3 both apply, the presumption of refusal is especially strong.

These are all presumptions, not rigid rules, so refusal is not automatic.

Please note: This is only a summary. The board's current policy is set out in Annex E to the LPS.

Consultation questions

Views and evidence from consultees are sought in relation to both sections below.

Section A - not overprovision

1. To what extent do you believe that the current LPS promotes the licensing objectives?

2. Do any of the following sections of the current LPS 2013-2018 require change? If so, why? It would be helpful to receive any factual or statistical information which is relevant.

  • Standard Conditions for Premises and Occasional Licences
  • Local Licensing Forum
  • Statement of Practice for Occasional Licences and Extended Hours
  • Gambling: Summary of Gaming Entitlements for Clubs and Pubs
  • conditions relevant to the Preventing Public Nuisance licensing objective
  • board business

3. Do you have any other comments to make in relation to the LPS?

Section B - overprovision

View the following plans, which detail:

4. What is the impact of the sale of alcohol on any or all of the localities in terms of the five licensing objectives? Statistical evidence to support this would be helpful.

5. To what extent is there overprovision of licensed premises in any or all of the localities?

6. To what extent is there overprovision of any type of licensed premises in all or any of the localities of North Ayrshire?

7. In addition to considering the number and capacity of licensed premises in any locality of North Ayrshire, the board proposes to have regard to the impact of the sale of alcohol on the six localities of North Ayrshire in terms of the five licensing objectives. Do you have any views on this? Are there any other matters the Board should have regard to?

8. If there is no significant change to the data or other information which informed the Overprovision Policy of the 2013-2018 LPS, the board may continue with the same policy.

Views are sought on whether the existing policy should be:

  • retained
  • changed
  • added to
  • deleted 

Statistical evidence to substantiate this would be helpful.

Have your say

The board will consider all responses. Please note that all responses may be made public.

Please send any comments by email or letter to the addresses below, to arrive no later than 1 October 2018.

Contact Aileen Craig



Aileen Craig
Clerk to the Licensing Board
North Ayrshire Council
Democratic Services
Cunninghame House
KA12 8EE