Licensing Act 2003

About the Licensing Act 2003

What is a premise licence?

A premise licence authorises the premise in question to carry out licensable activities. Almost any business that does one or more of these three activities will need a premise licence, including takeaways and late night cafes.

Where the sale or supply of alcohol is one of the activities carried out at your premises, you will also need at least one personal licence holder.

What are licensable activities?

Sale or supply of alcohol:

  • provision on regulated entertainment; and
  • provision of late night refreshment (that is the sale of hot food or drink at any time between 11pm – 5am).

What is regulated entertainment?

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

  • the performance of a play;
  • the exhibition of a film;
  • an indoor sporting event;
  • boxing or wrestling;
  • a performance of live music;
  • any playing of recorded music;
  • a performance of dance; and
  • entertainment of a similar description (e.g. a circus).

How long is a premises licence valid?

A premise licence has effect for the life of the business or until the licence is revoked, suspended or surrendered. This means it is not time-limited (unless the applicant specifically requests this).

What happens to my old licence(s)?

If you currently sell alcohol or provide entertainment, you will no doubt already have a licence, you may use "Grandfather Rights" to convert what you already have on a like-for-like basis for a new premise licence.

From the second appointed day (24 November 2005) your old licence(s) are no longer valid.

Who can apply for a premises licence?

Individuals, businesses or partnerships can apply. In the case of an individual, the applicant must be aged 18 or over.

Who needs a premise licence?

All of the following types of businesses because they do one or more licensable activity (sale of alcohol; provision of regulated entertainment; provision of late night refreshment) need a premise licence to operate:

  • pubs, café-bars and nightclubs
  • distributors of alcohol via the Internet
  • restaurants, hotels and guesthouses that serve alcohol
  • shops and supermarkets that sell alcohol for consumption off the premises including wholesalers who sell to the public
  • late night cafes, takeaways and other premises that supply hot food or hot drink at any time between 11pm and 5am to members of the public for consumption on or off the premises
  • cinemas, theatres, concert halls and amateur dramatic groups
  • venues providing live entertainment, live music or dancing, or which play recorded music
  • major art and pop festivals, carnivals, fairs and circuses.

Temporary authorisation for licensable activities can be obtained using a temporary event notice (similar to the old style occasional licences) and provided the limitations on their use, fit your circumstances, then you may not need to apply for the full premises licence. Limitations are as follows:

  • not more than 12 temporary event notices may be given in the same calendar year in respect of the same premises.
  • the number of days covered by the 12 events must not exceed 15 days in the same year.
  • the period during which the premises are to be used for each temporary event must not exceed 96 hours (4 consecutive days) and there must be a break of at least 24 hours between event periods.
  • the number of times that any person may give a temporary event notice in a calendar year is 50 in the case of a personal licence holder , or 5 for any other person (individual).
  • The maximum number of persons on the premises at any one time during the event must be less than 500.

When do you apply for a premises licence?

There are three basic scenarios that determine when you need to apply:

  • You already sell or supply alcohol and / or provide regulated entertainment and want to carry on trading as you are now - if you already sell or supply alcohol and/or provide regulated entertainment and have a licence or licences you may convert that licence/licences on a like-for-like basis at any time between 7 February and 6 August 2005.
  • You already sell or supply alcohol and / or provide regulated entertainment and want to change how you currently operate - where you want to vary the conditions of your existing licence(s) – perhaps you want to have some form of entertainment or change your hours – then you must allow two calendar months from the time you apply to the time you wish to start trading with the variation.
  • You do not presently have a licence - if you do not presently have a licence which relates to one of the licensable activities, you will need to make a new application at least two calendar months before you want to trade with your new licence.

Please note: even if your application for a licence is granted before the second appointed day (24 November 2005) you cannot start trading with new hours, activities etc. Until the second appointed day. You must keep all other licences up to date until this time.  

Why should you apply for a premises licence?

If you carry out a licensable activity without a premises licence (or Club Premises Certificate) from the second appointed day (24 November 2005), you will be breaking the law.

A premise licence also brings with it considerable freedoms: the possibility of carrying out extra activities, the opening hours you and your community want and greater flexibility.

How do you apply for a premises licence?

Please call 01922 653050 to obtain an application pack.

There are four key parts to your application:

  • the fee
  • the operating schedule section of your application form
  • the plan of your premises
  • the consent given by the person whom the applicant wishes to be the premises supervisor

What information do you need to include on your application form?

Your application should be as detailed as possible with your operating schedule telling us about you, your premises and the activities you plan to carry out at the premises after the second appointed day (24 November 2005). It should also tell us what measures you intend to put in place to promote the licensing objectives i.e. crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance, public safety and the protection of children from harm. We are looking for all premises to take appropriate steps to promote these licensing objectives. This means putting them at the forefront of how you run your business.

If you do not send us a complete operating schedule your form will be returned to you and will not be processed until such time as you have completed and resubmitted it. Please note the boxes on the application form in respect of promoting the licensing objectives are very small so we will be accepting additional sheets of paper to enable you to fully set out how you intend to promote the licensing objectives.

Advice on how to promote the licensing objectives and fill out this section of your form is readily available from the responsible authorities, who will be assessing your application and within Appendix B (Operating Plan considerations) of the Licensing Policy.

We believe that the vast majority of applicants will be looking to run their businesses responsibly, conscious of the environmental impact a licensed premises can have and the need for a culture of vigilance to protect customers, staff, performers, children, as well as local residents and businesses.

What are the licensing objectives?

  • Prevention of Crime and Disorder;
  • Public Safety;
  • Prevention of public nuisance; and the
  • Protection of children from harm

Who can you speak to for advice on promoting the licensing objectives?

Advice on promoting those objectives is available from the responsible authorities who will be assessing your application.

When you are making a variation to your existing licence(s) – new activities, new operating hours etc. – then your application will be subject to representations from all of the "responsible authorities" and "interested parties".

As well as looking carefully at what measures you intend to put in place to promote the licensing objectives; responsible authorities will be a very useful contact when you need help and expert guidance to fill out this part of your form.

  • the Police
  • the Fire Service
  • the Health and Safety Agency
  • the Environmental Health Department
  • the Planning Department
  • the Social Services Department
  • the Trading Standards Department
  • the Local Health Board

View the full contact details of the responsible authorities here.

In respect of vessels there are specific responsible authorities:

  • the Environment Agency;
  • the British Waterways Board; and
  • the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Do you need to advertise your application?

Yes, you must advertise by displaying a notice for a period of no less than 28 consecutive days starting on the day after the day on which the application was given to the relevant licensing authority, which is:

  • of a size equal or larger than A4,
  • of a pale blue colour,
  • printed legibly in black ink or typed in black in a font of a size equal to or larger than 16.

in all cases, prominently at or on the premise to which the application relates where it can be conveniently read from the exterior of the premise and in the case of a premise covering an area of more than fifty metres square, a further notice in the same form and subject to the same requirements every fifty metres along the external perimeter of the premises abutting any highway; and

You must also advertise by publishing a notice:

  • in a local newspaper or, if there is none, in a local newsletter, circular or similar document, circulating in the vicinity of the premises;
  • on at least one occasion during the period of ten working days starting on the day after the day on which the application was given to the relevant licensing authority.

What do you need to include on your advertisement?

  • Both notices must contain a statement of the relevant licensable activities, which it is proposed will be carried out at or from the premises.

Both notices must also state:

  • the name of the applicant or club;
  • the postal address of the premises or club premises, if any, or if there is no postal address for the premises a description of those premises sufficient to enable the location and extent of the premises or club premises to be identified;
  • the postal address and, where applicable, the worldwide web address where the register of the relevant licensing authority is kept and where and when the record of the application may be inspected.
  • the date by which an interested party or responsible authority may make representations to the relevant licensing authority;
  • that representations shall be made in writing; and
  • that it is an offence knowingly or recklessly to make a false statement in connection with an application and the maximum fine for which a person is liable on summary conviction for the offence.

What is a representation?

A representation is a statement of information relating to the whole of your application or to part of it. For example, if it was felt you were not putting sufficient control measures in place to prevent your customers from disturbing local residents, then any one of the seven responsible authorities, or any interested parties, could make a representation.

When can a representation be made?

Representations must be made within twenty working days of receipt of your application.

Who can make a representation?

Where you are a new applicant, for example, you run a takeaway / late night café or you are opening a new bar or where you are applying to change the way you operate your business (a "variation") any of the seven responsible authorities or interested parties can make a representation.

Who are "interested parties"?

  • Local residents / residents associations
  • Local businesses / trade groups

When you are simply converting your old licence on a like-for-like basis for a new licence, making no changes to how you operate, then only the police can make a representation.

How do you complete the application form?

When you come to fill out your application, please note there are guidelines at the back of each form, as well as a checklist at the end of each section within the form.

Please book a appointment with a licensing officer if you require any assistance with your application.

Please ensure that your application is legible. Typed applications are preferred.

Please note: if your application is found to be incomplete it will be returned to you for further information.

What information do you need to include in the plan of your premises?

The plan of your premises must be 1:100 scale and must show:

  • the extent of the boundary of the building, if relevant, and any external and internal walls of the building and, if different, the perimeter of the premises;
  • the location of entry and exit points to and from the premises;
  • the location of escape routes from the premises if different;
  • where the premises is to be used for more than one licensable activity, the area within the premises used for each activity;
  • fixed structures (including furniture) or similar objects temporarily in a fixed location (but not furniture) which may impact on the ability of individuals on the premises to use exits or escape routes without impediment;
  • where the premises includes a stage or raised area, the location and height of each stage or area relative to the floor;
  • the location of the steps, stairs, elevators or lifts where the premises includes any steps, stairs, elevators or lifts;
  • the location of the room or rooms where the premises includes any room or rooms containing public conveniences;
  • the location and type of any fire safety and any other safety equipment including, if applicable, marine safety equipment; and
  • the location of a kitchen, if any, on the premises.

Please note: The plan may include a legend through which the matters mentioned or referred to above are sufficiently illustrated by the use of symbols on the plan.

Contact us

Licensing Unit
Walsall Council
Civic Centre
Darwall Street

Telephone 01922 653050

This page was last updated on 19 September 2016