Retailers are being urged to get their new licensing applications “filled in and sent off immediately”.

The advice from the Association of Convenience Stores is reiterated as Licensing Minister James Purnell announced that the new licensing laws will come into force on November 24 this year.

Under the new Licensing Act, retailers who sell alcohol or serve hot food after 11pm must apply for a new licence by August 6 – even if they want to keep an existing licence.

David Rae, ACS chief executive, said: “If a correct application is not sent to your local authority by August 6, you will lose your Grandfather Rights to your hours and conditions.”