Under the Licensing Act 2003 (England and Wales) and the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, a premises licence must be obtained to carry out certain prescribed licensable activities, including the sale of alcohol and the provision of regulated entertainment and late night refreshments.
How to apply for a premises licence
An application for a premises licence must be made to the relevant local authority responsible for the area where the licensable activity is intended to take place.
You must be over 18 years of age to apply for a premises licence and either be a designated premises supervisor (DPS) with a personal alcohol licence or have appointed a DPS who holds a personal alcohol licence. A DPS usually has day-to-day responsibility for the running of the business and is specified on the premises licence as being responsible for authorising the sale and supply of alcohol.
Completing the form
You will be required to complete an online form detailing your request to the local authority.
- Part 1 – Premises details
Enter the address and requested details for the premises. If there is no postal address for the venue, you will need to provide a detailed description so that it is clear where specifically the venue is, using for example Ordnance Survey map references.
You will also need to provide the non-domestic rateable value (NDRV) of your premises. This differs from business rates, as it is determined by the Valuation Office Agency and will dictate the level of fee you will need to be pay.
- Part 2 – Applicant details
In this section, you state on what basis you are applying for a premises licence, for instance, whether as an individual or a charity. You can only apply in one of these categories so, for instance, you can’t apply as ‘a recognised club’ and ‘a charity’.
Each type of application, whether as an individual or one of the other categories, will instruct you which section to next complete.
- Part 3 – Operating schedule
Enter the date that you wish the licence to begin and, if relevant, the date you wish the licence to end. Otherwise, the licence will last indefinitely.
Write down a general description of the premises such as the type of premises, layout, or whether alcohol will be sold to be consumed away from the premises and if so, where.
You should indicate whether more than 5,000 people will be attending your venue at any one time because for a very large event, an extra fee may apply. If your attendance will be a lot less than 5,000, there is no need to fill in this box.
Next, you should indicate what kind of entertainment you will be providing on your licensed premises. These will indicate which related section you should fill in. Indicates all activities that may be provided.
- Boxes A to H
In these sections, any timings should be provided using the 24-hour clock against days of the week when you expect each kind of entertainment to take place.
- Box I – The provision of late night refreshment
Late night refreshment refers to the provision of hot food or drink between 11.00 pm and 5.00 am, with a few exemptions.
Hot drinks that contain alcohol come under the supply of alcohol rather than late night refreshment.
Hot drinks from customer operated vending machines are not licensable. A vending machine operated by a member of staff, however, is licensable.
Free hot food or drink, and food and drink supplied by a charity or a charity authorised person are not licensable.
Further exemptions apply to hotel guests, particular trades or professions and certain employees.
- Box J – Supply of alcohol (retail)
If you intend to sell alcohol to be consumed on the premises, then tick ‘on’. If you intend to sell alcohol to be consumed away from the premises, then tick ‘off’. If you would like your customers to be able to do both, then tick ‘both’.
Enter the details of your designated premises supervisor (DPS) in this section. This individual must hold a personal alcohol licence. You will also be required to supply a DPS consent form signed by the person you have named as DPS to confirm that they are happy to fulfil this role. This form can be obtained from your licensing authority.
- Box K – adult entertainment, services, activities, or other matters
Write down any adult entertainment etc that could be a matter of concern in relation to children, such as nudity or gambling.
If this does not apply to your premises, then write ‘none’ or ‘N/A’ for clarity.
- Box L – Hours premises are open to the public
Enter the overall hours that the premises will be open to the public, even for periods of time where no licensable activities are taking place.
- Section M – Steps to promote the licensing objectives
Write down the actions you will take to promote the 4 licensing objectives:
- Prevention of crime and disorder
- Public safety
- Prevention of public nuisance
- Protection of children from harm
Plan of the premises
A plan of the premises that you are seeking a licence for should be included with your application, and a copy forwarded to all responsible authorities. The plan should show the following:
- The extent of the building’s boundary, any external and internal walls of the building, and if different the perimeter of the premises
- Where the points of entrance to and exit from the premises are located
- The location of escape routes from the premises if different to the access points mentioned in 2 above
- Where the premises are used for more than one existing licensable activity, the precise area of the premises where each activity will take place
- Any fixed structures, including furniture, or objects that are temporarily fixed which may affect the ability of individuals to exit the premises or use escape routes without obstruction
- Where the premises have a stage or raised area, the height and location of steps, stairs, elevators and lifts
- Where there are steps, stairs, elevators or lifts on the premises, the location of these
- The location of any public conveniences in the premises
- The location of any fire safety equipment (including marine safety equipment) and the type of equipment
- The location of any kitchen on the premises
The plan should be drawn in standard scale with 1 millimetre representing 100 millimetres and it is advised (but not required) to include a key of symbols to illustrate points 1 to 10 on the plan.
Application form checklist and declaration
If you make a false statement regarding your application for a premises licence, you may be fined so ensure you have answered everything correctly.
Once you have worked through the checklist and have all the required documents, sign the form before submitting.
On the same day that you submit your application to the licensing authority, you may also be required to forward a copy, including all accompanying documentation, to the responsible authorities, which could include:
- the chief officer of police
- fire and rescue authority
- primary care trust or local health board
- health and safety authority
- local planning authority
- environmental health authority
- the organisation responsible for the protection of children from harm
- trading standards officers
Should a vessel be involved, you would also be required to forward a copy to the relevant navigation authority, British Waterways Board, the Environment Agency and possibly the Secretary of State.
Advertising your application for a premises licence
You must advertise your application by displaying a sign at your premises, or outside your premises, and placing an advertisement in your local newspaper.
How much are premises licence fees?
The licence fee is based on the non-domestic rateable value (NDRV) of the premises from which you intend to carry out the licensable activity.
Depending on the fee band of your venue, the application fee can range from £100 to £1,905. Fees are subject to change and you are advised to check your local authority website for the most up to date levels.
If your venue doesn’t have a rateable value, the fee will fall into the lowest band (band A).
Premises licence decision-making
The licensing authority must at all times seek to promote the following four licensing objectives as set under the Licensing Act:
- prevention of crime and disorder
- public safety
- prevention of public nuisance, and
- protection of children from harm.
Premises licence applications are considered in accordance with the responsible licensing authority’s statement of licensing policy. Should your application meet all of these requirements, the licensing authority must grant your application.
Where representations are made in respect of your application, it is for the licensing authority to decide whether those representations are relevant to the four licensing objectives and if so, the licensing authority must hold a hearing to consider them.
If you disagree with any decision made by the licensing authority to either reject all or part of your application, or to impose modifying conditions, you have a right of appeal to the magistrate’s court.
Displaying your premises licence
Once granted, you are required to display your premises licence summary at the relevant premises so that anyone may see it.
The remaining pages of your licence do not have to be displayed and should be stored safely and available on request by the Police or by council officers in the event of an inspection. You may face a fine of up to £1,000 for failing to produce your licence.
How legal advice can help
Without a valid premises licence permitting licensable activities, you could face a fine, up to 6 months’ imprisonment, or both.
If you have any queries about making an application for a premises licence, take advice to ensure you are meeting the requirements and following the process as required to avoid delays or issues with your application.