Premises licences

A premises licence, or a club premises certificate, is a permanent licence granted for a specific location, that authorises the holder to carry on any or all of the following licensable activities:

  • the sale of alcohol
  • the supply of alcohol by a club to its members and guests
  • the provision of regulated entertainment (including plays, films, indoor sports, music and dancing) and
  • the sale of late-night refreshment (hot food and drink supplied between 11pm and 5am)

Premises licences can also be used to licence one-off events at which more than 500 people are expected to attend. For smaller one-off time limited events, a Temporary Event Notice may be more appropriate.

Eligibility criteria

Any of the following may apply for a premises licence:

  • anyone who carries on a business in the premises to which the application relates;
  • a recognised club;
  • a charity;
  • a health service body;
  • a person who is registered under the Care Standards Act 2000 in relation to an independent hospital;
  • a chief police officer of a force in England and Wales;
  • anyone discharging a statutory function under Her Majesty's prerogative;
  • a person from an educational institute; or any other permitted person.

Applicants must not be under 18 years of age.


Applications can be for a new licence or a variation of the hours or activities of an existing licence.  Each application will be different depending on the type and number of activities applied for. Full details of how to apply are given in the guidance notes attached to the application forms. An applicant will always be required to give notice of their application to a list of responsible authorities, which are statutory bodies including the Police, Fire Service, Environmental Health and Trading Standards. An applicant will also be required to advertise their application, both on the premises, and in a local newspaper, to make both residents and businesses aware.

Application fees for premises licences applications and club premises certificates depend on the non-domestic rateable value of the premises, which is also used to calculate business rates. This value can be found through VOA. Premises that do not have a rateable value such as schools, church halls, open spaces and residential properties will automatically fall into the lowest fee band.

From the day an application for a new licence or variation is made, there is a 28-day consultation period to enable either any of the responsible authorities or any other persons to make representations in respect of the application.  These can either support or oppose the application.

After 28 days, if no objections have been made, the licence can be granted. If an objection has been made, the application will usually be referred to a hearing of the Licensing of Alcohol and Gambling Sub-Committee to be decided.

For a list of current applications, please go to our Applications Received page.

Application forms

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 on this page.

Designated Premises Supervisor

Every premises that sells alcohol has to specify an individual to take responsibility for the day to day control of a premises and to authorise other staff members to sell alcohol. This person is known as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) and must hold a personal licence.

If the Designated Premises Supervisor stops working at the premises, the holder of the premises licence will need to apply to specify a new individual.  If there is no DPS specified on the licence, no alcohol can be sold on the premises.

Certain 'community' premises can apply to remove the requirement to specify a DPS on their premises licence, for example, if a management committee are responsible for the licence instead of an individual, as with some Community Associations. The licence must be granted before any change can be made. Please contact us to ensure you are eligible before applying.

Making changes to the licence

A licensed business may need to make changes to their licence from time to time. Applications to vary the licence can be made for any of the following:

  • Changing the layout of the premises,
  • to provide additional licensable activities at the premises,
  • Increasing the times that licensable activities are provided; and
  • adding, removing or changing conditions imposed upon the licence.

Smaller changes that will not have an adverse impact on the licensing objectives can be made by applying for a Minor Variation.

Larger changes that may have an adverse effect on the licensing objectives will require a Full Variation Application. This may be if you wish to substantially alter the licensable activities, and always if you are increasing the hours in which alcohol is to be sold.

If the changes are such that they would completely change the nature of the business, we may ask you to apply for a new licence.

Change of ownership

If the business changes hands, an application can be made to transfer the licence to the new owner.  The previous owner will usually be required to give their consent by signing a form, showing that they consent to transferring the licence.

If a premises licence holder has passed away, or become insolvent, a transfer application must be made within 28 days, to prevent the licence from lapsing. As an alternative, an Interim Authority Notice can be submitted within that 28-day period, which gives a further three months for a buyer for the business to be found.

Duration of licence

Premises licences have an unlimited duration, unless they are for short events and the holder has specified an expiry date. For all other licences, an annual fee is payable on the anniversary of the grant of the licence.  A reminder is sent to the licence holder shortly before payment is due.

A premises licence will only cease to have effect if it is surrendered by the licence holder, revoked by the Licensing Authority, or if the holder dies, becomes insolvent, or becomes mentally incapable.


The licensing authority and other responsible authorities will use their powers to ensure that licensed premises operate lawfully. However, if there are problems that cannot be resolved through mediation or enforcement, a request may be made to review a licence. Reviews can be initiated by local residents or businesses, or any of the responsible authorities. Further information on the review process is available on our advice for residents page.

When any representations have been considered, action can be taken to amend a licence (for example, by imposing further conditions or changing the licensed times), or to suspend or revoke it.

Club Premises Certificates

A Club Premises Certificate is available only to members' clubs. Qualifying clubs tend to be run in a more restricted way than privately run premises, as they usually have membership systems, club rules and a constitution, so they can enjoy certain benefits under the Licensing Act, including the lack of requirement to nominate a DPS, and exemption from police powers to instantly close a premises. However, this type of licence only allows authorised activities to be carried on for the benefit of club members and their guests.

To qualify for a Club Premises Certificates, applicants must meet a number of requirements, which are set out in the Licensing Act. Please see our Club Premises Certificates page for further information.

Provisional statements

Provisional statements are effectively a provisional licence, which allows an operator to assess whether they will be able to obtain a full licence before they commit to the cost of developing a site. They can be obtained where the premises has not yet been constructed, extended, or altered for use for licensable activities. 

Provisional statements do not in their own right allow the provision of licensable activity, however, if a statement has been granted the licensing authority is obliged to disregard any representations received against a subsequent application for a premises licence, as long as the application is substantially the same as when the application for provisional statement was received.

Contact us

For further information about premises licences, or to discuss any particular issues, please email us at, or phone us on 01442 228470 or 228860.

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Page Last Updated: Friday, 01 June 2018 at 08:31 AM