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, night 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 other responsible authorities (such as the police or fire service) if problems occur at the premises.
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.
View a summary of the regulation relating to this licence on the GOV.UK website.
Application evaluation process
Applications must be sent to the council for the area where the premises are located - application guidance notes
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 licensing team.
Applications must be in a specific format and be accompanied by:
- the required fee
- a set of floor plans in standard scale showing the layout including external areas and the boundary of the premises, all access and egress points, location of the licensable activities and other uses such as kitchen and toilet facilities
- where alcohol is sold, a form of consent from the proposed Designated Premises Supervisor
- 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 off the premises or both
- the steps proposed to be taken to promote the licensing objectives
- any other required information
Part B of the council's licensing policy sets out proposed standards of management and controls that should be in place by the operator/applicant to promote each of these licensing objectives.
Advertising your application
For new, provisional statements and full variations of applications 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 and printed in black ink in font size equal to, or larger than, 16. Alternatively you can request this by contacting the licensing team.
A notice must be placed in a local newspaper or, if there is none, in a local newsletter, circular or similar document circulating in the area in which the premises is situated using the form. The notice must be published within ten working days of the date of application. It is recommended that the advertisement is not placed in the newspaper until the 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 ten consecutive days from the day after the application is made. A newspaper public notice is not required.
Any person can make representations or comments to the council about applications for new licences, variations or reviews. Comments may be positive or negative, but will only be considered relevant by the council if they relate clearly to the licensing objectives. The council will also reject comments considered to be frivolous of if they relate to personal disputes between businesses.
To make a representation or apply for a licence review please see the making representations or applying for a review guidance notes.
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 refer to the council's licensing policy before formulating their applications so that the applications are less likely to attract representations.
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.
The council has produced a licensing policy that will be used when determining applications.
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.
This means you will be able to act as though your application is granted if we do not respond to your application within the set time period (or a set extension time) unless "different arrangements" are in place. Timescales for processing an application do not start until we have received all the necessary documentation and fees and that the statutory notification and advertising requirements are satisfied as set out in the application evaluation process above. The Licensing Act, 2003, and associated regulations, set out the relevant timescales with regard to applications. Tacit authorisation will apply where no representations are made in relation to an application. Where representations are received, then "different arrangements" will apply and you must wait for the council to determine the application before any licensable activities can take place. The council has approved the tacit authorisation policy which sets out the circumstances where it is considered that tacit authorisation will not apply.
Minor variation applications will not be given tacit authorisation as by law they will be automatically refused if the council has not determined the application after 15 days from receipt.
Apply online at Business Link
- Apply for a premises licence
- Apply for a provisional statement
- Apply for a Designated Premises Supervisor to be disapplied
- Apply to vary your premises licence (minor)
- Apply to vary your premises licence (full)
- Apply to transfer your premises licence
- Notify us of an interest in premises under section 178
- Interim authority notice
- Consent of premises licence holder to transfer
- Notify us of your request to be removed as designated premises supervisor
- Consent of individual to be being specified as DPS
- Application to vary the premises licence to specify an individual as a DPS
- Notify us of a change of name or address
- Extend or renew your annual fee payment
Apply by post for a new premises/variation licence
Please download the relevant form below and once they have been completed in full, they must be sent to the licensing team accompanied by the correct fee .
- Application for a new premises licence
- Guidance - for a new premises licence
- Application for a provisional statement
- Application to vary a premises licence (full)
- Application to vary a premises licence (minor)
- Application to vary a premises licence to specify designated premises supervisor
- DPS consent form
- Application for the mandatory alcohol condition under the Licensing Act 2003 requiring a designated premises supervisor in respect of a premises licence to be disapplied
- Guidance on replacing the requirement to have a designated premises supervisor with a management committee
- Application to transfer a premises licence
- Consent of licence holder to transfer of licence
- Interim authority notice
- Notification of an interest in a premises licence
Failed application redress
Please contact the council in the first instance.
Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local magistrates' court within 21 days.
Licence holder redress
Please contact us in the first instance.
A licence holder may appeal against any conditions attached to a licence, or a decision to exclude an activity or person as premises supervisor. Appeals are made to a Magistrates' court within 21 days of notice of the decision.
Any complaints should be made to the licensing team.
- Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR)
- Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)
- Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (FLVA)
For more information please contact the licensing team.