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Premises Licence FAQs

The following information is intended as a guide to the main provisions of the legislation.

Applicants should take their own professional and legal advice where appropriate.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council offers a “Pre-Application Advice service which can be found at our Pre application advice service page.

Premises at which entertainment and certain other activities including the sale of alcohol are provided are required to be licensed under the Licensing Act 2003 (the Act).

Any alcohol bought on the premises is for consumption “ON” the premises only and cannot be removed to be consumed elsewhere, eg: a hotel, a restaurant.

Any alcohol bought on the premises is for consumption “OFF” the premises only and must be consumed elsewhere, eg: a supermarket selling alcohol or an Off Licence.

Yes. This will enable a premises to sell alcohol for consumption either on the premises or it can be taken off the premises to be consumed.

Yes. To sell alcohol from a mobile bar you will need a Temporary Event Notice

Businesses can only buy alcohol from wholesalers who have been approved by the HMRC under the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS).

You risk being prosecuted, and your stock being seized.

The Licencing Act 2003 says that the sale of alcohol takes place where it is appropriated to the contract. Therefore, you do not require a premises licence for your home. However, the warehouse where the alcohol is appropriated and despatched will require a premises licence.

Yes, as the sale of the alcohol takes place where the alcohol is appropriated ie: taken off the shelf, poured, etc, which would be from your licensed premises. However, you must have “Off” sales on your licence.

If your beer garden is an area covered by your premises licence then you can sell alcohol from a bar in the beer garden.

No. You would either have to apply for a variation to your premises licence to include the beer garden as part of the licensed premises or make use of a Temporary Event Notice.

No. A premises licence is not transferrable to a different premises

The premises licence is valid for the life of the business supplying alcohol and/or regulated entertainment.

The four licensing objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 are:

  • prevention of crime and disorder
  • public safety
  • prevention of public nuisance
  • protection of children from harm

The four licensing objectives are the principle concerns that the legislation is designed to deal with, and are:

  • the matters which an application for a premises licence must address;
  • the only matter which a licensing authority will address when considering whether to grant the licence;
  • the only grounds on which an objection may be made to the grant of a premises licence;
  • the only grounds on which a licensing authority is able to refuse a premises licence or impose conditions on it.

‘Premises’ is defined as ‘any place and includes a vehicle, vessel or moveable structure’.

Yes. More than one premises licence may be granted for the whole or for different areas of a premises, which may be held by the same or different individuals or organisations.

The licensable activities covered by a premises licence are:

  • the sale or supply of alcohol by retail
  • serving hot food and drinks between 11pm and 5am
  • Provision or regulated entertainment -
    • theatrical performance  (e.g. a pantomime or amateur dramatic production, including a rehearsal)
    • an exhibition of a film
    • indoor sporting event
    • boxing or wrestling (indoor or outdoor
    • live music  (e.g. karaoke, a band or a choir)
    • recorded music
    • dance performance
    • facilities for making music, dancing and entertainment of a similar description
  • A film exhibition solely to demonstrate a product, advertise any goods or services, or provide information, education or instruction;
  • Any film exhibition at a museum or art gallery;
  • Live television or radio broadcasts (please note if the event shown is on SKY television you are required to have a licence from SKY);
  • The performance of live or recorded music incidental to some other activity that is not itself a regulated entertainment;
  • Entertainment incidental to a religious service or meeting, or at a place of public religious worship;
  • Entertainment at a garden fête or similar event for charitable purposes;
  • Morris dancing, whether performance or participation;
  • Entertainment from carnival floats.

There are also exemptions for the supply of hot food and drink free of charge or from a vending machine or for charitable purposes between the hours of 23:00 and 05:00.

An application for a premises licence can be made by:

  • any individual or individuals aged 18 years or over if they propose to carry on a business involving the use of the premises for licensable activities;
  • a business or partnership; and
  • other organisations, such as hospitals, charities, schools, village hall committees.

The completed application form for a premises licence must be accompanied by:

  • the licence fee based on the business rateable value of the premises (;
  • the operating schedule;
  • a plan of the premises ( ;
  • if it is intended to sell alcohol, a form of consent given by the person whom the applicant proposes as the designated premises supervisor (DPS).

A designated premises supervisor (DPS) is the person named on the premises licence (not necessarily the premises licence holder) who is the person responsible for authorising the sale or supply of alcohol at the premises and will normally be the person responsible for the day to day running of the premises.

Yes, a DPS must hold a personal licence under the Licensing Act 2003.

No, if there is not a DPS in place alcohol cannot be sold, or displayed.

The operating schedule must include information necessary to enable any responsible authority or interested party to assess whether the steps taken to promote the licensing objectives are satisfactory.

The operating schedule must include a statement of:

  • the relevant licensable activities;
  • the standard and non-standard times during which it is proposed that the relevant licensable activities are to take place;
  • whether the licensable activities will be carried out inside or outside the premises or both;
  • the standard and non-standard times during which it is proposed that the premises will be open to the public;
  • non-standard timings may include additional hours for festival days such as Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Bank Holidays and/or set a limit for the final hour for outside entertainment;
  • where it is proposed that the licence will have effect for a limited period, the details of that period;
  • where the relevant licensable activities include the sale by retail of alcohol, prescribed information regarding the proposed DPS;
  • where the relevant licensable activities include the supply of alcohol, whether such sales are proposed to be for consumption on the premises or off the premises or both;
  • the steps the applicant proposes to take to promote the four licensing objectives of the Act.

The operating schedule must also include:

  • a general description of the style and character of the business that is to be conducted on the premises;
  • where alcohol is to be consumed on the premises, the intended areas to be designated for alcohol consumption and seating arrangements;
  • an indication of all types of entertainment to be made available on the premises, especially entertainment of an adult nature, which would require the applicant to include additional steps to protect children from harm;
  • where music is to be provided, the type of music must be stated to allow responsible authorities and interested parties to form a proper view as to the measures necessary to ensure public safety and prevent public nuisance.

Every premises licence application must be accompanied by a premises plan, which must show the:

  • location of the extent of the boundary of the building, including external and internal walls of the building and, if different, the perimeter of the premises;
  • location of points of access to and egress from the premises;
  • location of escape routes from the premises;
  • area(s) within the premises used for each activity;

fixed structures;

  • where there is a stage or raised area, the location and height of each stage or area relative to the floor;
  • location of any steps, stairs, elevators or lifts;
  • location of the toilets;
  • location and type of any fire safety and other safety equipment;
  • location of any kitchens.

The plan may include a legend through which the points referred to above are sufficiently illustrated by the use of symbols on the plan.

For both written and electronic applications, plans are not required to be submitted in any particular scale, but must be in a format that is ‘clear and legible in all material respects’.

There is no requirement for plans to be professionally drawn as long as they clearly show all the prescribed information.

You must advertise your application by putting up a public notice on or near the premises and by placing a notice in a local newspaper.

It is a notice you must display either at or on your premises relating to the application, where it can be conveniently read by members of the public.

View current Licensing public notices

For premises covering an area of more than 50 metres square, a further notice in the same form and subject to the same requirements must be displayed every 50 metres along the external perimeter of the premises abutting any highway.

The notice should be:

  • of a size no smaller than A4;
  • pale blue in colour;
  • printed in black ink;
  • in a print size equal to or larger than 16 font.

The public notice must be put up on the day following the day the application was submitted to the Licensing Authority.

The notice must be on display for 28 consecutive days starting the day after the day the application was submitted to the Licensing Authority.

A notice must be placed in a local newspaper circulating within the vicinity of the premises within 10 working days after the date of submission of the application to the licensing authority.

On at least one occasion during the period of 10 working days starting on the day after the day on which the application was submitted to the Licensing Authority.

If there is no local newspaper then you can advertise your application in a local newsletter, circular or similar document, circulating in the vicinity of the premises.

No. They must both contain the same information.

If you are applying for a new premises licence the notices must state the relevant licensable activities which are proposed.

If you are applying for a variation you must briefly describe the proposed variation.

In all cases the notice shall contain:

  • the name of the applicant
  • the postal address of the premises (if there is no postal address a description of the location sufficient to identify the premises)
  • the postal address and, where applicable, the worldwide web address where our register 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 us
  • that representations shall be made in writing
  • 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 could be liable on summary conviction for the offence (scale 5 on the standard scale which is currently unlimited)

Once the reasons for the application being made invalid no longer apply, the application is made valid and you will need to put up a new notice, with the new date by which an interested party or responsible authority may make representations to the Licensing Authority.

To prevent unnecessary costs, it is suggested that an application is not advertised in a local newspaper until you have received confirmation from the licensing authority that the application is valid and includes all required information.

An application for a premises licence, whether in writing or by electronic means, will only take effect from the time that a valid application, accompanied by the fee, premises plan and any other required document, is received by the relevant licensing authority.

Any responsible authority or member of the public can make relevant representations either for or against your application.

Representations made by authorised persons and responsible authorities or persons who live, or are involved in a business, in the relevant licensing authority’s area, and are likely to be affected by the proposal, and are not deemed to be frivolous, vexatious or repetitious.

28 days starting from the day after the day a valid application was submitted to the Licensing Authority.

As soon as you have been notified that the application is granted.

If relevant representations are made within the 28 day consultation period, the Licensing Authority will mediate between the applicant and objector/s in order to resolve any issues.

If the issues cannot be resolved and the objection is not withdrawn, a hearing of the Licensing Sub Committee will take place to determine the application.

It is a hearing held in public where the objector/s and applicant/s have the opportunity to put their cases forward to the members of the Licensing Sub Committee. The members will then determine the application based on the evidence put before them.

The hearing must be arranged within twenty working days of the final representation date.

The applicant will be informed by the Licensing Authority and will be provided with all the necessary committee documentation.

You can make an appeal to the Magistrates’ Court within twenty-one days.