Londis retailer Somsay Outama, who trades at Langley, Oldbury, in the West Midlands, says he has a large Londis store, but has run it for 19 years without an off licence. Now he would like one.
He writes: "I live in Birmingham, but my store is in Sandwell, just outside the city. I rang Sandwell council for details, and they sent me the application form to apply for a licence. Can I apply for the licence myself and represent myself or do I need to go to a solicitor to apply for me and represent me?"
For Somsay, and for any other retailer thinking of getting licensed in England or Wales (Scotland is undergoing its own upheaval at the moment and is therefore a different story), the answer is yes, you can apply for a licence yourself - indeed, many retailers do. Somsay could also ask the Londis group for some hand-holding and the licensing authority (ie the council) should be able to help with the form-filling.
Since he lives in a place that appears to come under a different authority to his store he will have to apply through two different councils for the two required licences - one for the premises licence and the other for his personal licence (with his personal licence he will then be able to sell alcohol from any licensed premises).
For the premises licence he will need two documents: a plan of his premises (scale 1:100) and an A4-size notice on blue paper to display at the front of his store for 28 days to advertise his application. He should also take out an advertisement in his local paper.
To get the personal licence he will have to pass the National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders qualification, which is run by the British Institute of Innkeepers (BII). His local licensing authority should give him the details or he could ring the BII on 01276 64449. The school running the course will probably send the books in advance and the course only takes one day.
Finally, Somsay will also have to supply a Criminal Records Check Certificate, which can be obtained from the Criminal Records Bureau (tel: 0870 9090 844) to prove he is not of dodgy character.