Licensed to sell...

Licensing operates under a different legislative regime to planning, it is therefore important that you consider both planning and licensing requirements when considering whether to use a premises for the sale of alcohol; just because planning is granted, it does not necessarily mean licensing will be and vice versa.

When is a premises licence required?

Under the Licensing Act 2003 (“the Act”), a premises licence is required in respect of any premises which are intended to be used for one or more licensable activities.

The following are licensable activities under the Act:

  • The retail sale of alcohol (including via the internet or mail order)
    •The wholesale of alcohol to members of the public
    •The supply of alcohol to members of registered clubs
    •The supply of hot food or drink between 11pm and 5am.

The provision of regulated entertainment in the presence of an audience is also a licensable activity.

Premises licences – the process

In order to authorise a premises for licensable activities, an application for a premises licence should be made to the local authority in whose area the premises are situated and must be granted unless representations against the grant of the licence are made. Where representations are made the authority must consider them and may either grant the licence subject to conditions or specified exclusions as appropriate, or reject the application. Sometimes, the licence will be considered at a licensing committee hearing; this is similar to a planning committee where parties are able to make representations at the hearing. Similar processes apply in relation to applications for the variation of licences.

Premises licences have effect until such time as they are revoked or, if granted for a limited period, that period expires. Licences will lapse in cases of the licence holder’s death, insolvency or incapacity or, if held by a club, if the club ceases to be a recognised club. Licences may also be surrendered and are transferable, either on application or in the event of the death, incapacity or insolvency of the licence holder.

To be granted a premises licence you will need to appoint a Designated Premises Supervisor (“DPS”) to be responsible for complying with the premises licence. A DPS will need to have a personal licence which can be obtained after attending the necessary licencing training.

It is important to note that when applying for a premises licence, the application must be advertised for a period of 28 days at the premises and a copy should also be advertised in the public notices section of the local newspaper, during which alcohol would not be allowed to be served at the premises. Therefore if you intend to operate a business involving a licensable activity within less than 28 days you may need to consider applying for a Temporary Event's Notice ("TENs") instead or a Late TEN’s notice. If the licence goes to a licensing hearing this may also delay the grant of any such licence until after the hearing.

Temporary Events Notices and late Ten’s notices

Applications for standard TENs require being served at least 10 working days before the ‘event’ and Late TENs allow you to apply with between 5 and 9 working days before the ‘event’. However, there are a number of limits in respect of these applications including the number you can apply for in any one calendar year. TENs will only last up to a maximum of X days, but they can be used consecutively with a 1 day break. These can also be used for one off events or to extend operating hours for a short period, such as extended trading hours over Christmas.

Key points to consider:

  • If you are intending to open any premises, does it involve a licensable activity? If so, you may need to apply for a premises licence and a personal licence;
  • Are you intending to operate the licensable activity at the premises in less than 28 days? If so, you may need to consider applying for a TENs or late TENs;
  • If the premises already operates under a premises licence and you are taking it over, you need to consider the transfer of the premises licence and appointment of a new DPS with a personal licence.

For further information on licensing, please contact Hannah Mannion ( ) or check out our licensing webpage.

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