Premises licence

A premises licence authorises the following activities:
  • the sale of alcohol (you’ll also need at least one personal licence holder)
  • the provision of regulated entertainment
  • the sale of late night refreshment (hot food and drink supplied between 11pm and 5am)

You’ll need a premises licence if you’re planning a large, one-off event that’s likely to attract more than 500 people (outside the limit for a temporary event notice).

Premises licences have an unlimited duration unless they’re for short events and the holder has specified an expiry date.

There is an application fee, and an annual fee is payable on the anniversary of the grant of the licence.

Businesses, organisations and individuals who want to provide types of entertainment may require a licence or other authorisation from the licensing authority

The types of businesses and organisations that need a licence for entertainment might include:

  • nightclubs
  • live music venues
  • cinemas
  • larger theatres
  • larger street and open air festivals
  • larger indoor sporting arena

In particular a licence may be required by:

  • anyone that provides any entertainment between 11PM and 8AM;
  • anyone that provides amplified live or recorded music to an audience of more than 500 people;
  • anyone that provides recorded music to an audience on premises not licensed for the sale or supply of alcohol;
  • anyone that puts on a performance of a play or a dance to an audience of more than 500 people, or an indoor sporting event to more than 1,000 spectators
  • anyone that puts on boxing or wrestling
  • anyone that screens a film to an audience

Do I need a licence for music entertainment?

Whether a licence is needed for music entertainment will depend on the circumstances. A licence is not required to stage a performance of live music, or the playing of recorded music if:

  • it takes place between 8AM and 11PM; and
  • it takes place at an alcohol on-licensed premises; and
  • the audience is no more than 500 people

You also don’t need a licence:

  • to put on unamplified live music at any place between the same hours; or
  • to put on amplified live music at a workplace between the same hours and provided the audience is no more than 500 people.

In other circumstances, a licence may be required. One licence application can cover all types of regulated entertainment and the sale or supply of alcohol.

There are exemptions from the need for a licence for music entertainment, in defined circumstances as set out in the Guidance , including for:

  • places of public worship, village halls, church halls and other similar buildings
  • schools
  • hospitals
  • local authority premises
  • incidental music - music that is incidental to other activities that aren’t classed as regulated entertainment

Do I need a licence to put on a play or a performance of dance?

Whether a licence is needed for a performance of a play or a dance will depend on the circumstances. A licence is not required to stage a performance of a play or a performance of dance if:

  • it takes place between 8AM and 11PM; and
  • the audience is no more than 500 people.

In other circumstances, a licence may be required. One licence application can cover all types of regulated entertainment and the sale or supply of alcohol. A licence is always required for any activity that is sexual entertainment   

Do I need a licence to stage an indoor sporting event?

Whether a licence is needed for an indoor sporting event will depend on the circumstances. A licence is not required to stage an indoor sporting event if:

  • it takes place between 8AM and 11PM; and
  • the number of spectators is not more than 1000 people.

In other circumstances, a licence may be required. One licence application can cover all types of regulated entertainment and the sale or supply of alcohol.

Do I need a licence to stage boxing or wrestling?

You will need a licence to stage boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts. One licence application can cover all types of regulated entertainment and the sale or supply of alcohol.

Do I need a licence to screen a film?

A licence is needed to screen a film or exhibit moving pictures. One licence application can cover all types of regulated entertainment and the sale or supply of alcohol.

There are exemptions from the need for a licence for film entertainment, in defined circumstances as set out in the Guidance, including for:

  • places of public worship, village halls, church halls and other similar buildings
  • education
  • incidental film – moving pictures that are incidental to other activities that aren’t classed as regulated entertainment
  • television broadcasts

In other circumstances, a licence may be required to show a film:

  • in public
  • or in private, if those attending are charged for entry and the intention is to make a profit, including raising money for charity.

Licensing of entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003 is entirely separate from copyright authorisation to show films.

What’s regulated entertainment?

Regulated entertainment is entertainment provided in the presence of an audience, for the purpose of entertaining that audience.

How do I apply for a premises licence?

Submit a completed application form (below). Guidance notes can be found at the end of the application forms.

You must display your application notice at the premises for 28 days from the day after it was submitted to allow other parties and responsible authorities to make representations.

If any relevant representations are made in respect of the application that can’t be resolved through mediation, we’ll hold a hearing within 20 working days of the end of the consultation period.

It usually takes between 1 and 3 months to get a premises licence, but it could take longer.

Is there an appeals process?

Applicants and all other parties who made representations to the application can appeal. You must lodge an appeal at the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the date the applicant was informed of the licensing committee’s decision.

Can I make changes to my premises licence?

You can apply to vary the licence in relation to:

  • changing the layout of the premises
  • providing additional licensable activities
  • increasing the times that licensable activities are provided
  • adding, removing or changing conditions imposed on the licence

For small changes that won’t affect the licensing objectives, apply for a minor variation.

For larger changes that may have an adverse affect on the licensing objectives, including increasing the hours that alcohol will be sold, you’ll need to make a full variation application.

You can apply to transfer the licence to the new owner.

If the premises licence holder has passed away or become insolvent, you must make a transfer application within 28 days to prevent the licence lapsing, or submit an interim authority notice which gives a further 3 months for a buyer for the business to be found.

What is a provisional statement?

Provisional statements allow an operator to assess whether they’re likely 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 licensable activities.

If a provisional statement has been granted, we’re obliged to disregard any representations received against a subsequent application for a premises licence (so long as the application is substantially the same).

Apply online

Please see the downloadable forms below:

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