When Dilip Patel rang me over his licensing issues, it was a bit late. He was due in court for a hearing the next morning at 9am. He had a new venture going with a partner in the form of Westgate Convenience Store in the town centre of Wakefield in West Yorkshire.

Some time ago they had been told that the police would object to their plans to change the premises from an on-licence to an off-licence due to the number already operating in the town centre. But Dilip’s partner said he had a top-notch solicitor so there should be no problem.

“They have issues with the times,” says Dilip. “They want us to close by 9pm, but we need to have it until 11pm.”

As I said, it was a bit late and Dilip added: “We can always appeal,” before going off to court.

But it all turned out so well that I thought you might like to hear how tackling the issues properly pay off.

The solicitor did all the talking, pointing out that the business had adopted a Challenge 21 policy, was not going to sell strong beers, or single cans after 10pm. In fact, after 10pm all transactions would take place through the hatch and no one would be allowed inside the store.

The two partners are not kids – Dilip has had a licence for 30 years, so that possibly helped. The fact that there are quite a few empty retail shops in the town centre may also have persuaded the panel to act in favour. It took less than two hours and Dilip says that forking out for professional help turned out to be a good idea after all.