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Licensing Act 2003

Businesses, organisations and individuals who want to sell or supply alcohol, provide regulated entertainment or offer late night refreshment must have a licence or other authorisation from the local licensing authority. The law and policy governing this area is overseen by the Home Office.

The types of businesses and organisations that require licences include:

  • pubs and bars
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • nightclubs
  • cafes/takeaways open between 11 pm and 5 am
  • village and community halls
  • member clubs
  • supermarkets

The types of licences required are as follows:

  • any business or other organisation that sells or supplies alcohol, provides regulated entertainment or late night refreshment between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am on a permanent basis needs to apply for a premises licence.
  • anyone who plans to sell or supply alcohol or authorise the sale or supply of alcohol must apply for a personal licence
  • qualifying members’ clubs (such as the Royal British Legion, working men’s clubs and rugby clubs) need to apply for a club premises certificate if they plan to sell or supply alcohol, and/or provide regulated entertainment or late night refreshment
  • anyone who wants to do any of the above on a temporary basis or outside of the hours of any existing licence must apply for a temporary events notice.  A temporary event notice can last up to 7 days, but the number that can be applied for is limited. 

To apply for a licence, you will need to complete an application form and send it to the licensing authority, along with the fee. You may also need to send copies of your form (depending on the type of application you are making) to the police and other ‘responsible authorities’.  Applications can be submitted online or by post.  Please see the link to the right for online applications. 

Fees under the Licensing Act 2003

Licence fees are prescribed in regulations (the Licensing Act 2003 (Fees) Regulations 2005). The fees paid in respect of applications for new premises licences and club premises certificates; applications for full variations to premises licences and club premises certificates; and annual fees in respect of premises licences and club premises certificates vary dependent on the national non-domestic rateable value (NNDR) “band” of the premises. Premises that are exempt from non-domestic rating are allocated to Band A. Premises that do not have a NNDR because they under construction are allocated to Band C.

An “additional fee” may be payable in respect of large scale events, where 5,000 or more people are due to attend at a venue that is not purpose-built.

Personal Licences

Premises licensed to sell alcohol must have a designated premises supervisor (DPS), who holds a personal licence named on the licence. The one exception is a community premises that has successfully applied to waive the DPS requirement under section 41D of the Act. Anyone who does not hold a personal licence must be authorised to sell alcohol by a personal licence holder. There is no such requirement for the supply of alcohol in a members’ club.

Personal licences allow you to sell alcohol on behalf of any business that has a premises licence.  To apply, the applicant must be over 18 years of age and hold a relevant licence qualification and submit a basic disclosure that is less than one month old at the time of application. Disclosures can be obtained direct from Disclosure and Barring Service  Once a licence has been issued, you must notify the Council of any change of address, for which a fee is payable. The licence is granted for an indefinite period.

Last updated 1 May 2018

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