Premise Licence

Under the Licensing Act 2003 businesses can apply for a single premises licence to cover all the licensable activities they wish to carry on. Hearings on an application will only occur where representations from interested parties or responsible authorities are made.

There are fees applicable to this process.

Those applications concerning the grant or variation of a premise licence are subject to the publication of a notice on the premises and in a local newspaper by the applicant. In addition we are required to publish notice of these types of application on the website. This notification process gives people 28 days to make representations.

At the end of that 28 day notice period if no valid representations are received the licence will be issued.

If an application for a licence is refused, the failed applicant can appeal. Appeals are made to the Magistrates' court within 21 days of notice of the decision.

From 6 April 2017 applicants must have the legal right to work in the UK in order to hold a premise licence (which includes sale of alcohol and/or late night refreshment), from that date proof of the right to work will be required.


The Licensing Act 2003 ("the Act") requires each licensing authority to carry out its duties with a view to promoting four licensing objectives. These are:

  • the prevention of crime and disorder; 
  • public safety; 
  • the prevention of public nuisance; 
  • the protection of children from harm.

These objectives comprise the basis on which the licensing authority determines what is in the overall public interest when carrying out its functions. A licensing authority may only restrict licensable activities where it is necessary for the promotion of these licensing objectives. Each objective is of equal importance.

Any representations about the grant of a licence or grounds for a review of an existing licence should relate to the promotion of the licensing objectives.

When applying for a premises licence the applicant must submit an operating schedule that includes a statement of the steps he proposes to take to promote the licensing objectives.

The licensing objectives establish the tests against which a licensing authority carries out its duties for the  licensing regime. They aim to ensure that everybody involved in the licensing regime is focused on common goals essential to the fair balance of differing interests and the well being of communities in relation to licensable activities.

 


The Act states that the following persons may apply for a premises licence in respect of any premises:

A person who carries on, or proposes to carry on, a business which involves the use of the premises for the licensable activities to which the application relates

Any person who makes the application pursuant to:

  1. any statutory function discharged by that person which relates to those licensable activities, or
  2. any function discharged by that person by virtue of Her Majesty’s prerogative,
  3. a recognised club,
  4. a charity,
  5. the proprietor of an educational institution,
  6. a health service body,
  7. a person who is registered under Part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000 (c14) in respect of an independent hospital,
  8. a person who is registered under Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 in respect of the carrying on of a regulated activity (within the meaning of that Part) in an independent hospiital in England,
  9. a chief officer of police of a police force in England and Wales;
  10. a person of such other description as may be prescribed

An individual may not apply for a premises licence if he is not aged 18 or over.

An individual who is resident in the United Kingdom may not apply for a Premises Licence authorising premises to be used for the sale of alcohol and/or late night refreshment unless the individual is entitled to work in the United Kingdom.

The descriptions of entertainment activities licensable under the 2003 Act are:

  • a performance of a play;
  • an exhibition of a film;
  • an indoor sporting event;
  • a boxing or wrestling entertainment;
  • a performance of live music;
  • any playing of recorded music;
  • a performance of dance; and
  • entertainment of a similar description to a performance of live music, any playing of recorded music or a performance of dance.

To be licensable, one or more of these activities needs to be provided for the purpose (at least partly) of entertaining an audience; has to be held on premises made available for the purpose of enabling that activity; and must also either:

  • take place in the presence of a public audience, or
  • where that activity takes place in private, be the subject of a charge made with a view to profit.

No licence is required for the following activities:

  • Plays: no licence is required for performances between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
  • Dance: no licence is required for performances between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
  • Films: no licence is required for ‘not-for-profit’ film exhibition held in community premises between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day provided that the audience does not exceed 500 and the organiser (a) gets consent to the screening from a person who is responsible for the premises; and (b) ensures that each such screening abides by age classification ratings.
  • Indoor sporting events: no licence is required for an event between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, provided that those present do not exceed 1000.
  • Boxing or wrestling entertainment: no licence is required for a contest, exhibition or display of Greco-Roman wrestling, or freestyle wrestling between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, provided that the audience does not exceed 1000.

Live music: no licence permission is required for:

  • a performance of unamplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, on any premises.
  • a performance of amplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day on premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on those premises, provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
  • a performance of amplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, in a workplace that is not licensed to sell alcohol on those premises, provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
  • a performance of amplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, in a church hall, village hall, community hall, or other similar community premises, that is not licensed by a premises licence to sell alcohol, provided that (a) the audience does not exceed 500, and (b) the organiser gets consent for the performance from a person who is responsible for the premises.
  • a performance of amplified live music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, at the non-residential premises of (i) a local authority, or (ii) a school, or (iii) a hospital, provided that (a) the audience does not exceed 500, and (b) the organiser gets consent for the performance on the relevant premises from: (i) the local authority concerned, or (ii) the school or (iii) the health care provider for the hospital.

Recorded Music: no licence permission is required for:

  • any playing of recorded music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day on premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on those premises, provided that the audience does not exceed 500.
  • any playing of recorded music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, in a church hall, village hall, community hall, or other similar community premises, that is not licensed by a premises licence to sell alcohol, provided that (a) the audience does not exceed 500, and (b) the organiser gets consent for the performance from a person who is responsible for the premises.
  • any playing of recorded music between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, at the non-residential premises of (i) a local authority, or (ii) a school, or (iii) a hospital, provided that (a) the audience does not exceed 500, and (b) the organiser gets consent for the performance on the relevant premises from: (i) the local authority concerned, or (ii) the school proprietor or (iii) the health care provider for the hospital.

Cross activity exemptions: no licence is required between 08.00 and 23.00 on any day, with no limit on audience size for:

  • any entertainment taking place on the premises of the local authority where the entertainment is provided by or on behalf of the local authority;
  • any entertainment taking place on the hospital premises of the health care provider where the entertainment is provided by or on behalf of the health care provider;
  • any entertainment taking place on the premises of the school where the entertainment is provided by or on behalf of the school proprietor; and
  • any entertainment (excluding films and a boxing or wrestling entertainment) taking place at a travelling circus, providing that (a) it takes place within a moveable structure that accommodates the audience, and (b) that the travelling circus has not been located on the same site for more than 28 consecutive days.

For the purposes of the Act, the provision of late night refreshment means the supply of hot food or hot drink to the public, for consumption on or off the premises, between 11pm and 5am or the supply of hot food or hot drink to any persons between those hours on or from premises to which the public has access.

Food or drink is "hot" for the purposes of the Act if it is heated on the premises or elsewhere before it is supplied for the purpose of enabling it to be consumed at above ambient air temperature, or if it may be heated on the premises for this purpose after it is supplied.

The Act provides for a number of supplies to be exempt supplies which will not constitute the provision of late night refreshment. Examples are the provision of hot drink by vending machines in certain circumstances; where the hot food or hot drink is supplied free of charge; or where it is supplied by a registered charity.

A designated premises supervisor (DPS) is the person who, identified as such for a particular premises, is named on the premises licence. Any premises where alcohol is supplied under a premises licence must have a DPS. They will be named in the Operating Schedule for any premises with a premises licence. The DPS will not necessarily be the premises licence holder, although this may sometimes be the case. It is expected that they will be the point of contact for the premises at all times for licensing authorities, or the police or fire services if problems occur at the premises.

The DPS has to be the holder of a personal licence to be able to authorise the sale of alcohol.

Any application for a premises licence must also include a form of consent given by the individual whom the applicant wishes to have specified in the premises licence as the DPS.

The information contained in a plan must be clear and legible in all material respects and it must:

  1. show the extent of the boundary of the building, if relevant, and any external and internal walls of the building and, if different, the perimeter of the premises;
  2. show the location of points of access to and egress from the premises;
  3. show, if different from 2. above, the location of escape routes from the premises;
  4. in a case where the premises is to be used for more than one licensable activity, show the area within the premises used for each activity;
  5. show fixed structures (including furniture) or similar objects temporarily in a fixed location (but not furniture) which may impact on the ability of individuals on the premises to use exits or escape routes without impediment;
  6. show, in a case where the premises includes a stage or raised area, the location and height of each stage or area relative to the floor;
  7. show, in a case where the premises includes any steps, stairs, elevators or lifts, the location of the steps, stairs, elevators or lifts;
  8. show, in a case where the premises includes any room or rooms containing public conveniences, the location of the room or rooms;
  9. show the location and type of any fire safety and any other safety equipment including, if applicable, marine safety equipment; and,
  10. show the location of a kitchen, if any, on the premises

The plan may include a legend through which the matters mentioned above are sufficiently illustrated by the use of symbols on the plan.

All contested applications are referred to the Council’s Licensing & Regulatory Licensing Sub-Committee (which consists of 3 elected Councillors) to consider the objections in relation to the application.

You will be invited to attend and make your application to the Sub-Committee, you may ask questions of the Sub-Committee and of the objectors. In turn you may be required to answer questions raised by the Sub-Committee or the objectors. Hearings are normally heard in public and as a result members of the press and public may be in attendance.

A copy of the procedures the Sub-Committee follow can be found in the download section elsewhere on this page as well as some guidance for persons attending a hearing.

Premises licences are not time limited (unless requested), and will not be subject to renewal.

However any premise licence issued in respect of an application made on or after 6 April 2017 will become invalid if the holder ceases to be entitled to work in the UK.