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Late Hours Catering Licence

West Lothian Council operates a late hours catering licensing scheme which is administered by the Council's Licensing Team.

The Team are able to provide general guidance on the scheme but cannot assist you to complete your application form or provide legal advice on whether a licence is required. You should seek legal advice from a solicitor or advice centre if you are unsure as to whether you require a licence.

Which premises require a licence from the Council?

In terms of Section 42 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, a late hours catering licence is required where premises (including mobile premises operated by street traders) are to be used between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am for the sale to the public of food for consumption on as well as off the premises. Food is defined in terms of the Food Safety Act 1990 and has an extremely wide definition which covers all food and drink including water and chewing gum.

What exemptions apply?

Section 42(4) of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 provides that -

"A late hours catering licence shall not be required in respect of -

(a)   the use as such of licensed premises within the meaning of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005; or

(b)   premises being used in accordance with a public entertainment licence"

The Council considers that unless a liquor licence or a public entertainment licence is in force under which the premises are operated during the hours between 11 pm and 5 am that a late hours catering licence will be required.

Section 42(5) allows applications to be made to the Council to exempt the use of premises requiring a late hours catering licence from the requirement to have such a licence -

(a)   in respect of any particular occasion; or

(b)   during a specified period not exceeding 2 months in any period of 12 months.

How do you apply for a late hours catering licence?

If you want to apply for a late hours catering licence you must submit an application form along with the required documents and the appropriate fee, details of these can be found in the guidance notes attached to the application.

All applications are copied to the Council's advisors who can recommend that conditions in addition to the standard conditions detailed on this page are attached to the licence when granted. If you do not want to accept any recommended conditions then the application would be referred to the Licensing Committee for a decision to be made regarding which conditions will apply to your licence. Mandatory background checks will be carried out on all applicants by Police Scotland and applicants' details will be retained on computer.  You will be contacted once vetting is complete.

How will my application be decided?

The Council's policy regarding applications for late hours catering licences is as follows -

"Applications for late hours catering licences for petrol stations, supermarkets and retail shops -

Applications to licence the above premises between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am which do not attract any adverse comments/objections are granted by the Chief Solicitor under delegated powers. All other applications require to be referred to the Licensing Committee for determination.

Applications for late hours catering licences for takeaway or restaurant premises -

Applications to licence the above premises which do not attract any adverse comments/objections are granted by the Chief Solicitor under delegated powers with a terminal hour of 1 am for sales at the premises and 2 am for deliveries. All other applications require to be referred to the Licensing Committee for determination."

You will be advised if your application is being referred to the Licensing Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly basis.

We have nine months in which to determine your application however the majority of applications are determined within 60 days. 

How do you complain about late hours catering licence holders?

Complaints regarding licence holders may be made to the Licensing Team. These should be made in writing by email or letter providing full details of the nature of the complaint and sent to the Licensing Team using the contact details on the top right handside of this page.

Complaints regarding unlicensed late hours catering premises should be made to Police Scotland by calling 101.

How much are the application and renewal fees?

More information regarding  pdf icon current application fees [23kb]​ 

Where can I get an application form?

Application forms which have guidance notes attached to them are available to download from the Related Documents section on this page.