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Licensing act

The Licensing Act 2003 was designed to allow greater freedom of choice for the public balanced against tougher powers for the police and Licensing Authorities such as ourselves, to deal with problem premises.

The Act covers the sale of alcoholic drinks in pubs, clubs, off licences and restaurants and the supply of alcohol in members clubs. The Act also covers cinemas, theatres, indoor sporting events such as boxing, wrestling and martial arts, the provision of regulated entertainment including music, singing and dancing and events such as concerts.

We review our licensing policy every three years in consultation with licence holders, residents, businesses, the police and fire authorities.

All premises involved in the sale or supply of alcohol, the provision of late night refreshments or regulated entertainments need to have a Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate issued by us.

Statement of Licensing Policy

Provisional statement

Anyone who is considering opening licensed premises may apply to the Licensing Authority for a Provisional Statement. This will allow the premises to be constructed, extended or altered to allow licensable activities to take place, knowing that a full licence will be issued on completion (provided there are no material changes in the original operating schedule).

Community centres, educational or religious establishments and village halls

In certain circumstances community centres, educational or religious establishments and village halls that provide regulated entertainment will also require a Premises Licence. Community based/educational premises that do not sell alcohol are normally excluded from the requirement to pay the relevant application fee.

Appealing against the Licensing Authority

The Magistrates' Court, which formerly controlled licensing, now hears appeals against decisions of the Licensing Authority. The Licensing Authority, Licensees, Police and other agencies work in partnership to promote the Licensing Objectives of the Act, namely:

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

This information is provided for the assistance of applicants and other persons and represents a summary of the relevant legislation at the time of publication. Interpretation of the legislation is ultimately a matter for the courts, and applicants and other persons must take their own professional and legal advice where appropriate.


Where to find help

For further information about the Licensing Act, please contact the Licensing team.

Further information

Information about the Licensing Act can also be found on The Department for Culture, Media and Sport website.