Premises License FAQ’s

Q. What is a premises license?

A A premises license is a license that is granted to authorise the premises to be used for “licensable activities” namely the sale of alcohol or the provision of regulated entertainment or late night refreshment.

The term “premises” no longer means just buildings but now has a wider definition under the Act, and can now include areas in the open air, vehicles, vessels or moveable structures.

If a premises sells alcohol then the premises license must name a person who is responsible for supervision of the premises. This person is known as the “designated premises supervisor”.

Q. Do I need a personal license?

A A personal licence is required to supervise the sale of alcohol in any premise as a Designated Premises Supervisor. Therefore at least one person concerned with the business is required to be a personal license holder. An application is made to the Local Authority for the area in which you live and the Local Authority will remain responsible for the licence even if you move. The licence is valid for 10 years and will be renewed by the issuing Local Authority.

Q. What is a designated premises supervisor (DPS)?

A The designated premises supervisor (DPS) is the person identified as such for a particular premises who is named on the premises license. Any premises where alcohol is supplied under a premises license must have a DPS. They will be named in the operating schedule for any premises with a premises license.

The DPS will not necessarily be the premises license 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 licensing authorities, or the police or fire services if problems occur at the premises.

Any application for a premises license must also include a form of consent given by the individual whom the applicant wishes to have specified in the premises license as the DPS.

Q. What is regulated entertainment?

A There is a long list of entertainment which is regulated under the Act, and these are:

  • A performance of a play
  • An exhibition of a film
  • An indoor sporting event
  • A boxing or wrestling entertainment (indoors or outdoors);
  • A performance of live music;
  • Any playing of recorded music;
  • A performance of dance;

Entertainment of a similar description to that falling within a performance of live music, the playing of recorded music and the performance of dance (plus facilities for allowing people to take part in making music, dancing or any thing similar for the purpose of being entertained).

Q. I show live televised football and rugby in my pub, is this also classed as regulated entertainment?

A No, the showing of a live televised football or rugby match is not classed as regulated entertainment.

Q. Can licensed premises open 24 hours?

A The Act promotes flexible, rather than uniform closing times and allows for the possibility of premises to remain open for up to 24 hours. The actual hours of operation will vary from premises to premises depending on the operator’s wishes and consideration of people affected, for example, local residents and businesses. However if no relevant representations are made in relation to the application then the licensing authority must grant the application.

Q. Who can apply for a premises license?

A A number of different people and bodies that can apply for the license. The main person who can apply is “a person who carries on, or proposes to carry on, a business which involves the use of the premises for licensable activities”. This will normally be the proprietor but there is no requirement that the person who applies has day-to-day management of the premises. So the owner of a business with no day-to-day involvement (because he or she currently employs a manager) could apply to hold the premises license. Similarly, in managed premises, a pub operating company could hold the premises licenses for all its premises.

Recognised bodies such as clubs and charities can also apply to hold a premises license.

Q. How do I apply for a premises license?

A There are several documents that you have to supply to the relevant Local Authority and certain information that also has to be provided in addition to a fee. We can assist you during the whole application process.

Q. Will the Licensing Authority simply grant or reject my application?

No. A Licensing Authority could reach a decision that partially grants what you are applying for like granting reduced hours of operation for a licensable activity. For example, a licensing authority could attach a condition preventing the playing of amplified music after 11pm for a premise in a residential area where you had applied.

Q. How long will my new premises license last?

A A premises license lasts indefinitely unless it is suspended or revoked or, if the license is granted for a limited period only, for the period specified in the license.

Q. I want extra hours and/or want to remove other restrictions on my existing license, what will I have to do?

A You will need to apply to vary the license to give you the extra hours and remove any other restrictions. The procedure is similar to the procedure for a new premises license. See Guidance Note 4 for further information.

Q. What is a personal license?

A A personal license is a license which is granted to an individual and authorises that person to supply alcohol, or authorise the supply of alcohol in accordance with a premises license.

An application for a personal license must be made to the Licensing Authority where you ordinarily live. This means that if you live in Enfield, but your premises is in Greenwich, you must apply to the London Borough of Enfield Licensing Authority for your personal license and then to the London Borough of Greenwich Licensing Authority for your premises license.

Q. Do I have to hold a personal license to work in a pub?

A No one is required to hold a personal license to work in any licensed premises other than the person who is the Designated Premises Supervisor, but there is nothing to stop other persons working in a pub holding a personal license. However every supply of alcohol under the premises license must be made or authorised by a person who is a personal license holder.

Q. I sell takeaway food but not alcohol, does the Act affect me?

A Yes if you sell hot food or hot drink between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am for consumption on or off your premises. A sale between those times is a licensable activity under the Act and you will have to apply for a premises license. Provided you do not sell alcohol for consumption on or off the premises or both, then you will not need a personal license.

Q. Why is it that fast-food outlets and takeaways have to be licensed?

A The government felt it necessary to include late night takeaways and fast-food outlets in the Act to protect local residents because premises which serve late night refreshment can be used by customers who may have been drinking at other premises earlier in the evening, thereby creating the potential for disorder on or near the premises. Also, because large numbers of customers may gather at places serving late night refreshment, there is the potential for disorder, nuisance and disturbance for local residents.

Q. What happens to members’ clubs?

A Under the Act registered clubs can apply for a club premises certificate.

As this type of club is run by members committees and do not have licensees, they are not required under the Act to have a personal license holder or a designated premises supervisor.

Q. Can I allow children in the premise under the Licensing Act 2003?

A Children under 16 are allowed in premises provided they are accompanied by an adult in establishments which are exclusively or primarily used for the supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises and this will include beer gardens and outside terraces.

The sale or supply of alcohol anywhere on relevant premises to anyone aged under 18 years is prohibited and is a prosecutable offence; as is the consumption of alcohol by an individual under 18 anywhere on relevant premises.

Q. Does the fourth licensing objective, ‘the protection of children from harm’ refer only to physical harm?

A ‘Harm’, for the purpose of the Act, refers not only to physical harm but also to psychological and moral harm. It can be interpreted in the widest possible sense by the licensing authority in response to representations from responsible authorities, such as, the police, social services, or local Area Child Protection Committees and interested parties. If there is genuine reason to believe that allowing children to enter certain premises could result in harm of any kind, necessary conditions will be imposed on the license or certificate that the licensee or club will have to abide by.

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