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Premises licence overview

Apply for a premises licence if you intend to sell alcohol or provide ‘licensable activities’ from a particular venue, unless you have a temporary event notice or club premises certificate.

Licensable activities include:

  • selling alcohol (including online sales)

  • serving hot food and drinks between 11pm and 5am

You’ll also need a licence if you provide the following types of entertainment:

  • theatrical performance

  • showing a film

  • indoor sporting event

  • boxing or wrestling (indoor or outdoor)

  • live music

  • recorded music

  • dance

  • facilities for making music

  • dancing facilities

You still need a licence even if the activities are for charity.

The rules regarding premises licences are in the Licensing Act 2003 and the Licensing Act 2003 (Premises licences and club premises certificates) Regulations 2005

Exemptions

You don’t need a licence for some types of entertainment, including:

  • educational or promotional films

  • films shown as part of an exhibition in a museum or gallery

  • incidental music (live or recorded)

Conditions

You must be, or appoint, a designated premises supervisor (DPS) when you apply for a licence. A DPS must have a personal licence to sell alcohol.

There may be other conditions added to your licence, such as having an age-checking policy if you sell alcohol. Read a guide to ensuring that underage sales of alcohol do not take place.

Displaying your licence

You must display the ‘licence summary’ at your premises where it can be easily seen.

The other pages of the licence should be kept safely at the premises. Police or council officers can ask to inspect them at any time.

Length of licence

Most premises licences have an unlimited duration but you will have to pay an annual fee.

Fines and penalties

You can be fined up to £1,000 for failing to produce your licence on request.

If you carry out any licensable activities at your premises without a premises licence, you can be fined, sent to prison for up to 6 months, or both.

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