A Premises Licence is a permanent licence, granted in respect of a specific location, that authorises the licence-holder to carry on a combination of the following licensable activities:
- the sale by retail of alcohol
- the supply of alcohol by a club to club members and guests;
- the provision of regulated entertainment (including plays, films, indoor sports, music and dancing);
- the provision of entertainment facilities; and
- the sale of late night refreshment (hot food or drink supplied between 11pm and 5am).
Premises Licences may also be used in respect of one-off events at which more than 500 people are expected to attend. For smaller one-off events, a Temporary Event Notice may be more appropriate.
The application process differs slightly for each type of application, and full details are given in the guidance notes attached to the application forms. An applicant will always be required to give notice of their application to one or more 'responsible authorities' (statutory bodies including the Police, Fire Service, Environmental Health and Trading Standards). For applications for new licences or variations of existing licences, applicants will also be required to advertise the application, both at the premises and in a local newspaper, to alert local residents and businesses.
Application fees are dependent upon the non-domestic rateable value of the premises. This value, which is also used to calculate business rates, can be found through the VOA search engine. Premises that do not have a rateable value (such as schools, church halls, open spaces or residential properties) automatically fall into the lowest fee band.
From when an application is made for a new licence, or to vary or review an existing licence, there is a 28-day period during which any representations in respect of the application may be made. Representations may support or oppose the application.
The licensing authority will usually be able to confirm whether an application has been granted shortly after the end of this period. However, in situations where an objection has been made, the application will usually be referred to a Sub-Committee hearing to be decided.
Any licence granted may be subject to a number of conditions, including:
- mandatory conditions, which are set out within the legislation, and apply if the licence allows the supply of alcohol or exhibition of films, or if security staff are employed at the premises,
- conditions consistent with any special measures set out in the application form, and
- any further conditions imposed by the Sub-Committee following a hearing.
Designated Premises Supervisor
Every Premises Licence that allows the supply of alcohol is required to specify an individual as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS). The DPS must hold a Personal Licence, and will usually be the person in day-to-day control of the premises, who authorises other members of staff to sell alcohol.
If the individual specified as the DPS ceases to work at the premises, it will be necessary for the holder of the Premises Licence to apply to specify a new individual. Alcohol cannot be sold from the premises if there is no DPS listed on the licence.
Certain 'community premises' are now able to apply to remove the requirement to specify a DPS on their licence. The premises must satisfy several conditions in order to remove the requirement, and an application must be granted before the change can be made. Please contact us for further details, or to discuss whether a particular premises is likely to be eligible to remove this requirement.
Making changes to the licence
As time goes on, it is possible that the licensed business may need to make changes to the licence to reflect its current circumstances.
Applications can be made to vary the licence for any of the following matters:
- changing the layout of the licensed premises,
- providing further licensable activities at the premises,
- increasing the times during which licensable activities can be provided,
- adding, changing or removing conditions imposed upon the licence.
Smaller changes that will not have an adverse impact upon the licensing objectives may be made using a minor variation application.
Larger changes that may have an adverse effect upon the licensing objectives must be made using a full variation application. This must also be used if you wish to increase the hours during which alcohol can be sold, or make substantial changes to the premises.
If the changes are exceptionally substantial, and will completely change the nature of the business, we may instead ask you to apply for a new licence.
Change of ownership
If the business is sold to a new owner, an application can be made to transfer the licence to that person. The previous owner will usually be required to provide a signed form showing that they consent to the transfer of their licence.
Where the business changes hands following the death or insolvency of the previous owner, the transfer application must be made within 28 days, to prevent the licence from lapsing. Alternatively, an interim authority notice can be submitted within the initial 28-day period, which allows a further 3 months for a buyer for the business to be found.
Most Premises Licences will have an unlimited duration, and will not be subject to a periodic renewal process. Instead, an annual fee is payable every year, on the anniversary of the grant of the licence. A reminder will be sent to the licence-holder at the appropriate time.
Licences issued for short events may have an expiry date if the applicant requested one. If the expiry date is less than a year after the licence was granted, the holder will not have to pay an annual fee.
A Premises Licence will only cease to have effect if it is surrendered by the holder, revoked by the licensing authority, or if the holder of the licence dies, becomes insolvent, or becomes mentally incapable.
The licensing authority and other regulatory bodies will use their powers to ensure that licensed premises operate in accordance with the law. However, there may be occasions when a problem exists that cannot be adequately resolved through mediation or enforcement. In these situations, an request may be made to review a licence.
Reviews can be initiated by interested parties, such as local residents or businesses, or by any responsible authority. Further information on the review process is available on our advice to residents and businesses page.
After considering any representations, action can be taken to amend a licence (e.g. by imposing further conditions or changing the licensed times), or to suspend or revoke it.
Provisional Statements are effectively a provisional licence, allowing an operator to assess the likelihood of obtaining a full licence before committing to the costs of developing a site. They can be obtained in situations where the premises have not yet been constructed, extended or altered for use for licensable activities. Provisional statements do not in their own right allow licensable activities to be carried on - however, if a statement has been granted, the licensing authority is obliged to disregard any representations received against a subsequent Premises Licence application, as long as the details of the application are substantially the same as when the statement application was made.
Club Premises Certificates
An alternative to a Premises Licence, available only to members clubs, is a Club Premises Certificate. As qualifying clubs tend to be run in a more restricted manner than privately-run premises, due to their membership systems and club rules, clubs with certificates will enjoy certain benefits, including the lack of a requirement to nominate a DPS, and exemption from the police powers to instantly close a premises. However, certificates do not allow premises to be made available to the general public - authorised activities may only be carried on for club members or their guests.
To qualify for a Club Premises Certificate, applicant clubs must meet a number of requirements set out in the Act. Please see our Club Premises Certificates page for further details.
Forms for all types of Premises Licence applications are available on our application forms page. You can also apply online for many types of applications through this page.
We are required to maintain a public register giving details of the Premises Licences that we have issued. These details can be viewed at our offices at Blue Star House, during usual office hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
More Questions and answers on the FAQ page.