Premises Licence Selling alcohol

Published on July 19th, 2011 | by Dean Carr


Alcohol premises licence – Rules and Application

Premises selling alcohol, providing regulated entertainment or providing late night refreshment will need to be licensed under the Licensing Act 2003.  Premises licences are issued by the council as the local licensing authority. This generally covers businesses such as pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, hotels, off licenses and late night food takeaways.

Any premises where alcohol is supplied under a premises licence must have a nominated designated premises supervisor (DPS). This is a person in day-to-day control of the premises. A DPS must be a personal licence holder but 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 the council, or the police or fire services if problems occur at the premises.

Eligibility criteria

Any of the following may apply for a premises licence:

  • anyone who operates 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 Health and Social Care Act 2008 in relation to an independent hospital in England
  • 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
  • any other permitted person
  • Applicants must not be under 18 years of age.

Regulation summary

View a summary of the regulation relating to this licence on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website.

Application evaluation process

  • Applications must be sent to the council for the area where the premises are located.
  • Applications must be in a specific format and be accompanied by the required fee , plans and where alcohol is sold, a form of consent from the proposed Designated Premises Supervisor.
  • For new and full variation applications an operating schedule will also be required which is included in the application form.

An operating schedule will include details of:

  • the licensable activities
  • the times when the activities will take place
  • any other times when the premises will be open to the public
  • in the case of applicants who wish to have a limited licence, the period the licence is required for
  • information in respect of the premises supervisor
  • whether any alcohol that is to be sold is for consumption on or of the premises or both
  • the steps proposed to be taken to promote the licensing objectives
  • any other required information

For new, provisonal statements or full variation applications

  • Copies of the application form, including any relevant accompanying documents, must be sent to the responsible authorities on the same day that the application is given to the local licensing team.
  • A notice of application must be displayed in your window for 28 consecutive days. The notice must be copied onto pale blue paper not less than A4 size. Alternatively you can request this by contacting your local licensing team.
  • A notice must be placed in the local press using the form. It is recommended that the advertisement is not placed in the newspaper until your local  council has confirmed that the application including all the required information has been submitted in full.

A notice is also required for a minor variation application. The notice must be no smaller than A4 size on white paper. The notice must be displayed on the window of the premises for a period of 10 consecutive days from the day after the application is made. A newspaper public notice is not required.

Where no relevant representations are made by responsible authorities or interested parties the licensing authority must grant the licence application subject only to the mandatory conditions and such other conditions as are consistent with the operating schedule. If relevant representations are received, the licensing authority must hold a hearing and consider the representations (unless all parties agree that this is unnecessary). Applicants should contact responsible authorities before formulating their applications so that the applications are less likely to attract representations and that the mediation process may begin before the statutory time limits come into effect after submission of an application.

If a hearing is held the licence can be granted as submitted or granted subject to additional conditions, licensable activities listed in the application can be excluded or the application can be rejected.

In all cases where a hearing is held the council will serve a notice of its decision on the applicant, any person who has made relevant representations (ie representations that were not deemed frivolous or vexatious) and the chief of police.

In the case of applications to transfer a licence, to disapply a designated premises supervisor, to vary a designated premises supervisor or seek an interim authority, a hearing will be required if representations are received from the police.

In the case of a minor variation the decision of the licensing officer is final.

Tacit consent

This means you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the council by the end of the stated target completion period. Timescales for processing an application do not start until we have received all the necessary documentation and fees and that the statutory notifciation and advertisng requirements are satisfied as set out in the application evaluation process above. If you receive no further contact from us within the stated timescale in the application acknowledgement then tacit authorisation applies. Where matters arise with regards to the application giving need for an extension of the processing period then the applicant/agent will be notified.

Minor variation applications will not be given tacit consent as by law they will be automatically refused if the council has not determined the application after 15 days from receipt.


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About the Author

Dean Carr

Dean has been involved in alcohol licensing for over 20 years and has helped many independent retailers and corporate clients obtain a licence to sell alcohol or offer late night refreshment, regulated entertainment from all sorts of premises. Dean writes articles for various trade related blogs and is currently Managing Director of the PLT group of companies who run APLH and SCPLH personal alcohol licence courses nationwide. You can contact Dean or a member of his expert licensing team on: 01242 222 188


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