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Premises Licences

Anyone wanting to use a premises to sell alcohol, have regulated entertainment or sell hot food or drink after 11pm needs to have a premises licence unless they have a temporary event notice or club premises certificate.

New requirements

From 6 April those applying for New Premises Licences that include the sale of alcohol and/or late night refreshment, Variations to existing licences (including a minor variations) and Transfers of Premises Licences will be required to produce a copy of a relevant document proving they have the right to work in the UK. List of Relevant Documents (pdf, 243kb) (opens in a new window)

Best Bar None

This is a scheme run in Weymouth for details please contact the Weymouth Licensing Team.

What is a premises licence?

A premises licence allows any place, including buildings, open spaces, pieces of land, moveable structures and vehicles to be used for licensable activities. A premises licence lasts indefinitely, unless an application states otherwise or the licence is legally seen to no longer exist (pdf, 16kb) (opens in a new window). An annual fee needs to be paid to keep the licence in force. This fee is due on the date the licence was first granted. The licence can be suspended if the annual fee is not paid on time.

The rules regarding premises licences are in the  Licensing Act 2003 (opens in a new window) and the The Licensing Act 2003 (Premises licences and club premises certificates) Regulations 2005 (opens in a new window).

How do I apply for a premises licence?

Complete an application form which can be downloaded, (opens in a new window) or apply online. The application needs to be accompanied by:

You will also need to advertise the fact that you are applying for a premises licence. The Licensing Act requires applications to be advertised in a certain way and the  advertising requirements (pdf, 129kb) (opens in a new window) can be downloaded as can the Advert for new licence (word, 23kb) (opens in a new window).

Please note that the Licensing Act requires all new premises licence applications and applications to vary a premises licence to be available online. Such application can be found on How to make a representation or review a premises licence.

Before submitting an application you should look at the relevant Licensing Authorities statement of Licensing Policy which it uses as a guide when making a decision along with the  Section 182 Licensing Act Guidance (opens in a new window) . Each Authorities Statement of Licensing Policy is available to download:

First application

If this is the first time you have applied for a premises licence you can download a list of points that you may want to consider (pdf, 79kb) (opens in a new window) before you submit your application.

Risk assessment

Any individual preparing an Operating Schedule is at liberty to volunteer any measure, such as in the Pro-Forma Risk Assessment, as a step he or she intends to take to promote the Licensing Objectives. Licensing Act - pro-forma risk assessment (word, 311kb) (opens in a new window)

It contains a Pool of Conditions which should give guidance to both applicants, Responsible Authorities, and Interested Parties when considering the type of measures available.

Completed applications

Completed applications need to be sent to the Licensing Authority in which the 'premises' are located with copies sent to the relevant Responsible Authorities.

The contact details for each Licensing Authority and the relevant Responsible Authorities can be downloaded:

Any applications that do not meet all of the above requirements may be rejected and you may have to start the whole process again.

Can I apply online?

EU Logo Applications can be emailed to the relevant licensing authority with payment being made by card over the telephone, or by sending a cheque. Please note that the application is not complete and the 28 day representation period does not start until payment is received. Alternatively applications can be submitted via GOV.UK (opens in a new window). This link can also be used to make changes to a premises licence, such as a change of DPS or a transfer of the premises licence. To do this you need to enter the postcode of the premises and then select the 'how to make changes' link on the left hand side of the page. To complete the application any accompanying documents must be sent the relevant licensing authority.

The Licensing Authority will notify the responsible authorities of applications received electronically.

You can apply online - to North Dorset District Council only

Please Note:
The online payment system is not available at this time. You will be invoiced for any charges relating to your applications.

North Dorset: Apply online

How to apply online to North Dorset District Council (pdf, 413kb) (opens in a new window)

You can pay premises annual fees online to Christchurch and East Dorset Councils

Christchurch-Pay annual fee

East Dorset-Pay annual fee

How long will my application take to process?

There is a 28 day period during which the responsible authorities and any other person can make representations about an application. If no representations are received within this 28 day period, the application is granted with the relevant  mandatory conditions (pdf, 26kb) (opens in a new window) and any conditions consistent with the applicants operating schedule, attached.

If representations are received the application process may take considerably longer as it may be necessary to arrange a Licensing Sub-Committee to hear the application. Applicants are therefore advised to apply for a premises licence well in advance of any proposed event.

Who can apply for a premises licence?

Any person or business that uses the relevant premises. Individual applicants must be aged 18 years or over.

How do I change my premises licence?

To change any part of a premises licence such as the licensable activities, conditions or opening times an application to vary the premises licence will need to be submitted. If you wish to transfer the premises licence or change the DPS you will need to make the appropriate application. Further information about changing a licence can be found on 'How to change a premises licence'.

I am looking to sell alcohol what else do I need to do?

It is important that you have procedures in place to prevent underage sales of alcohol. The Business Companion website offers further advice and information on the sale of alcohol. The advice offered discusses the sale of alcohol, due diligence and reasonable precautions.

I want to sell alcohol online do I still need a premises licence?

Yes and you will also need a designated premises supervisor.

The place needing to be licensed is the premises where the alcohol is stored and selected for a specific customer, and then sent out to that customer, for example a warehouse.

If you are selling alcohol online, or offering an alcohol delivery service, you should mention this in the operating schedule as well as the steps you will take to ensure that alcohol is sold in accordance with the law.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the Licensing Authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the relevant Licensing Authority within 30 days of submitting your application, you can contact the relevant Licensing Authority using the contact details above.

What happens if my application is refused?

You can appeal. Appeals should be made to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of being notified of the Licensing Authority's decision.

A premises licence holders can also appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of the decision notice, against any conditions attached to their premises licence, a decision to exclude a licensable activity from the licence, a decision to reject a variation application or a transfer application, or a decision to exclude a person from being the DPS.

What happens if complaints are received about my licensed premises?

Under the Licensing Act 2003, anyone that experiences problems from a licensed premises that can be linked to one or more licensing objectives, for example noise disturbances or anti-social behaviour, is able to submit a formal application asking for a licence to be reviewed. More information regarding this can be found on the representations page.

If a review hearing is held and you are unhappy with the decision reached, any party to the review can appeal. Appeals are made to the Magistrates Court and must be lodged within 21 days of the notice of decision.

Trade associations

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (opens in a new window)

Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) (opens in a new window)

Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (opens in a new window)

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