Subject to the definitions and exemptions under the Licensing Act 2003, a premises licence authorises any premises to be used for one or more of the licensable activities.
The licensable activities include one or more of the following:
- The retail sale and supply of alcohol
- Provision of regulated entertainment (this includes public entertainment, theatre, cinema, and indoor sports)
- The provision of late night refreshments between 11pm and 5am
Who can apply for a premises licence?
You must be 18 years or over to apply for a premises licence.
Generally, any person who is aged 18 or over and who is or proposes to carry on a business which involves the use of premises for licensable activities may apply for a premises licence either on a permanent or time-limited basis.
The following people or organisations may also apply for a premises licence on a permanent or time-limited basis:
- A person who makes the application pursuant to any statutory function which they discharge and which relate to the licensable activities
- A person who makes the application pursuant to any function which they discharge by virtue of the Queen's prerogative
- A recognised club
- A charity
- The proprietor of an educational institution
- A health service body
- The chief officer of police.
The following activities will require a premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003.
Retail sale of alcohol - this includes via the internet or mail order and "drink included in ticket" style events, however the supply of alcohol to members of registered clubs and their guests is not an activity covered by a premises licence; see Club Premises Certificate for further details.
Supply of late night refreshments - This includes the supply of hot food or drink between the hours of 11pm and 5am, (mobile food vans will also need a separate street trading consent) unless you fall under an exemption.
Provision of regulated entertainment - which includes:
- the performance of a play
- an exhibition of a film
- an indoor sporting event
- a boxing or wrestling entertainment
- a performance of live music
- any playing of recorded music
- a performance of dance, and
- the provision of facilities for making music or for dancing.
Remember - If you apply for a premises licence that includes the consent to sell alcohol you must nominate a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) and this person must hold a personal licence.
The Licensing Act 2003 makes the following exemptions to the definition of regulated entertainment:
Films can normally only be shown if the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has awarded a certificate. These range from "U" which means universal and can be seen by anyone, to "18" which means that only persons who are 18 and over can be admitted to see a particular film.
The Council has the power to act as a local censor and give permission for a film to be shown which has not been granted a certificate by the BBFC. The Council also has powers to prohibit the exhibition of a film even though a certificate has been granted, or alter the BBFC certification from, for example a "PG" to a "12".
In addition to the main purpose built theatres which hold an annual licence, there are a number of community halls or similar premises which put on performances that require an occasional licence. These can be granted for a few days only or specific periods.
Late Night Refreshment
Late night refreshment is generally defined as the provision or supply of hot food or drink between the hours of 11pm and 5am to any member of the public, on or from any premises, whether for consumption on or off the premises.
The supply of hot food or drink between 11pm and 5am is NOT late night refreshment, if a person will neither be admitted to the premises, nor be supplied with hot food or drink on or from the premises concerned otherwise than being a member of a recognised club, being a person staying at a particular hotel (or other overnight accommodation) for the night in question, being an employee of a particular employer, being engaged in a particular trade, profession or vocation.
The supply of hot food or drink between 11pm and 5am is NOT late night refreshment, if it takes place during a period in which the premises are used for a public exhibition or near beer premises.
The following supplies of hot food or drink is NOT late night refreshment, and are exempt supplies:
- The supply of hot drink which consists of or contains alcohol,
- The supply of hot drink by means of a vending machine,
- The supply of hot food or drink free of charge,
- The supply of hot food or drink by a registered charity, or person authorised by a registered charity,
- The supply of hot food or drink on a vehicle in motion.
In order to obtain a premises licence you will need to make an application to us as the Licensing Authority, along with payment of the application fee. There is also a consultation period and you will need to advertise the application.
How do I apply for a premises licence?
For premises situated within Stevenage, applicants must ordinarily apply to Stevenage Borough Council.
Applications may be made online or by post and include the following documents and submissions:
- Operating Schedule
An operating schedule is a document that should include all the information necessary to enable the Council or interested party to assess whether the steps to be taken to promote licensing objectives are satisfactory. The form of an operating schedule is provided within the specified application form and must be completed.
- Consent of Designated Premises Supervisor
In the case of an application for a premises licence which relates to the sale or supply of alcohol, the consent of the individual who the applicant wishes to have specified as the premises supervisor in the licence must be provided.
- Plan(s) of the Premises and / or Land
All applications for the grant of a premises licence must be accompanied by a plan of the premises to which the application relates. For clarity, it is recommended that plans together with the prescribed features they contain be colour coded.
Please note that unless otherwise stated, all documents must be original, as photocopies will not be accepted.
Please note that applications that do not meet the criteria detailed may be deemed invalid and subsequently rejected.
For all applications for first-time grant of a Premises Licence, the prescribed fee must accompany the application. All cheques and / or postal orders should be made payable to Stevenage Borough Council.
Whatever the fee payable under each band, additional fees are also payable if more than 5,000 people are to be permitted on the premises under the licence arrangements.
Applicants are advised that the holder of a Premises Licence must also pay an annual fee. The annual fee payable is also dependent upon the non-domestic rateable value of the premises concerned.
Advertisement of Applications
In all cases, an application must be advertised by publishing a notice in a local newspaper circulating in the vicinity of the premises. This advert must be published on at least one occasion within 10 working days of the application being submitted to the Council.
Applicants are advised to contact their chosen newspaper group to check publication deadlines and dates. Applicants should also check that the chosen newspaper circulates in the area to which their application relates.
The application must also be advertised by displaying a notice at or on the premises. This notice must be A4 or larger in size, pale blue in colour and located in such a position where it can be conveniently read from the exterior of the premises.
The notice must be printed legibly (font size 16), be printed or typed in black ink and must be displayed for a period of 28 consecutive days. For any premises covering an area more than 50 metres square, two A4 notices must be displayed.
All notices must contain a statement of the relevant licensable activities that are to be carried on from the premises. In addition, all notices must contain / state the following:
- The name of the applicant
- The postal address of the premises concerned
- The postal address and website of Stevenage Borough Council, stating where and when the record of the application on the licensing register may be inspected (Stevenage Borough Council Offices)
- The date by which an interested party or responsible authority may make representation(s) to the Council and that all such representations must be made in writing;
- That it is an offence to knowingly or recklessly make a false statement in connection with an application together with the maximum fine for which a person is liable on summary conviction.
Failure to advertise the application in the prescribed manner may render the application invalid.
What happens next?
On receipt, an application for a premises licence will be allocated to one of the Council's licensing officers. The licensing officer will check to ensure that the application is valid and has been satisfactorily completed (all the relevant information and documentation has been provided).
The licensing officer will also seek to confirm that that a copy of the application has been sent to all of the responsible authorities and check to ensure the application has been advertised correctly. The licensing officer may also check that the plans are correct by visiting the premises concerned. (S)he may also check the validity of the personal licence of the proposed premises supervisor (DPS) with the(ir) relevant issuing authority.
How long will it take us to determine your application?
We will acknowledge your application within 4 working days. Your application cannot be determined until the 28-day period allowed for representation(s) has passed. Where no representation(s) are received, we aim to process the application within 2 months. However as we deal with a large number of licence applications, permits and other authorisations, it can sometimes take us a little longer.
Where necessary, we are statutorily required to commence a hearing within a period of 28 days after the last date for representations. While we will try and give you as much notice as possible, we aim to give you at least 10 working days notice of the date of any hearing(s) we intend to hold.
What will happen if we identify a problem?
If there is a problem with the application, the licensing officer may contact you for further information or may return the application (or part of it) to you for your attention as may be appropriate.
Why do we check the validity of the DPS personal licence?
By law, any DPS is required to hold a valid personal licence. We will check this with the(ir) relevant issuing authority to ensure that their personal licence remains valid and has not otherwise been suspended or revoked.
Why do we check that the plans are correct?
By law, applications for a premises licence must be submitted with a plan of the premises to which the application relates. This plan must show a number of specified features (see above). As the plan will ultimately be attached to the premises licence (if granted) to define where licensable activities may take place, it is important that the plan is accurate and contains all necessary information.
Why do we check whether the application has been advertised?
By law, any application for a premises licence must be advertised in the prescribed manner. Failure to advertise or otherwise advertise correctly may render the application invalid because interested parties to the application may not know that an application has been made and may miss the(ir) opportunity to make representation(s). For this reason, we will check that the application has been advertised correctly (see above).
Why do we liaise with the responsible authorities?
The application process for a premises licence is prescribed under the Licensing Act 2003 and requires you, as the applicant, to give a copy of any such application to several responsible authorities.
The reason for this is that the Act gives the responsible authorities 28 days, from the point of our receipt, to make representations in respect of such an application. The responsible authorities may make representations in respect of the application where they believe it may affect the promotion of the licensing objectives.
Given the above, we liaise with the responsible authorities in order to ensure that this process has been followed and the application is valid.
What happens if representations are made?
Where we receive representation(s), the law requires us to hold a hearing of our Licensing Committee to determine the application (unless all parties agree that a hearing is not necessary).
At a hearing, the Committee may choose to grant or refuse the application or otherwise grant it subject to conditions. We will of course notify you and advise you of all necessary arrangements should a hearing be necessary.
What happens if your application is refused?
If we refuse the application, we will inform you of our decision in writing, together with the reason(s) for refusal and your rights of appeal, what you need to do to appeal and the time in which you have to do it should you choose to do so.
Will tacit consent apply?
No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within the service standards defined, please contact us.
Who can appeal a licensing authority decision?
Any interested parties or responsible authorities, that made relevant representations during an application for a licence, variation or review of a premises licence, have the right to appeal against a licensing authority's decision in the courts, if they think:
- The licence should not have been granted
- The licensing authority should have imposed different or additional conditions on the licence
- A licensable activity should have been excluded from the licence
- The licensing authority should not have agreed to the named "premises supervisor";
- or there was a procedural irregularity, and this affected the decision (for example, the licensing committee had failed to comply with the hearings regulations).
How do I make an appeal?
Appeals must be made in writing to the designated officer for the magistrates' court for the area where the premises is situated within 21 days of the decision. For premises within Stevenage, an appeal must be lodged with the Stevenage Magistrates' Court at the following address:
Stevenage Magistrates Court