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Club premises certificate

To authorise the supply of alcohol and regulated entertainment in a qualifying club in County Durham, you need a club premises certificate from us.

This is a requirement of the Licensing Act 2003.

In a qualifying club there is technically no sale by retail of alcohol (except to guests), as the member owns part of the alcohol stock. The money passing across the bar is merely a mechanism to preserve equity between members where one may consume more than another.

To be licensed as a qualifying club, you must be able to satisfy the requirements set out in the legislation (see eligibility criteria below). If you are unable to do this, you may need to apply for a premises licence instead.

Applicable fees

Club premises certificate fees are statutory and are payable annually. A fee may also be payable for any variation. has a list of Alcohol licensing fee levels.

Eligibility criteria

Clubs must be qualifying clubs meaning that they must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Club rules must stipulate that persons must wait for at least two days after application for membership before they can be admitted as members or admitted to the privileges of membership (as a candidate for membership).
  • Club rules must stipulate that persons who become members without prior application for membership must wait at least two days before they are admitted to club privileges.
  • The club must be established and conducted in good faith.
  • The club must have at least 25 members.
  • Alcohol must only be supplied to members on the premises by the club, or on behalf of the club.

Other conditions relating to the sale of alcohol must also be satisfied to be a qualifying club. These are;

  • that alcohol purchased for and supplied by the club is done by members of the club who are over 18 years of age and are elected to do so by the members
  • that no person at the expense of the club receives any commission, percentage or other similar payment in regard to the purchase of alcohol by the club
  • that there are no arrangements for anyone to receive a financial benefit from supplying alcohol, apart from any benefit to the club or to any person indirectly from the supply giving a gain from running the club.

Registered industrial and provident societies and friendly societies will qualify if the alcohol purchased for and supplied by the club is done under the control of the members or a committee of members.

Relevant miners' welfare institutes can also be considered. A relevant institute is one that is:

  • managed by a committee or board that consists of at least two thirds of people appointed or elevated by one or more licensed operators under the Coal Industry Act 1994 and by one or more organisations who represent coal mine employees
  • managed by the committee or board made up of at least two thirds of members who are; (i) previously or currently employed in or around coal mines, or (ii) are people appointed by the Coal Industry Welfare Organisation or other body with similar functions under the Miners' Welfare Act 1952

In either case, the premises of the institute must be held on a trust as required under the Recreational Charities Act 1958.

Application evaluation process

We are only able to deal with applications relating to premises in County Durham.

All applications must be fully completed and include a plan of the premises and a copy of the club rules in order to be processed. You must ensure that you have given us full details of the club operating schedule.

The club operating schedule consists of information relating to:

  • licensable club activities
  • times when the activities will take place
  • other opening times
  • whether any alcohol that is to be sold is for consumption on or off the premises or both
  • the steps the club propose to take to promote the licensing objectives
  • any other required information

Upon submission of your application to us, you must ensure that you take the following steps in order for it to progress.

  • Advertise your application by displaying a public notice at the premises for 28 consecutive days (starting with the day after you submit your application to us).
  • Place an advert in a local newspaper (at least once during the ten working days after you submit your application to us).
  • Submit a copy of the application and required documents to all responsible authorities. Download the Icon for pdf list of responsible authorities (PDF, 98.1kb)  for their contact details.

​Officers from our Licensing Team may inspect the premises before an application is considered. Further conditions may also be attached to the certificate.

If any representations are made about your application, we will hold a hearing of the licensing statutory sub-committee within 20 working days - unless all parties agree that a formal hearing is not necessary.

Where a hearing takes place, the committee will consider the application and any objections, taking into account whether they meet the aims of our licensing policy. The committee may decide to grant or reject the application or alter the terms or conditions of the certificate.

Notification of changes/variations

Where a club premises certificate has already been issued (or has already been applied for) and there is:

  • an alteration to club rules
  • an alteration to the name of the club
  • an alteration to the registered office of the club
  • any other variation required

the club secretary must let us know. This can be done using the appropriate link within the 'apply online' section of this page.

Where the form is returned to us by post, the club premises certificate must be enclosed. Where the form is submitted online, the certificate must be returned to us by post within seven days.

Implied granting of certificate ('tacit consent')

If you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period we specify for dealing with your application, you have the legal right to act as though your licence has been granted. This is known as 'tacit consent'. This does not apply to minor variation applications.

Our target completion period for processing a correctly completed application is 90 working days. We aim to acknowledge your application within 5 working days of receipt. Please contact us using the details below if you have not received acknowledgement within 10 working days.

Apply online

Applicant redress

If an application for a club premises certificate is refused, the applicant can appeal to a Magistrates' court within 21 days of notice of the decision. An applicant also has the right to appeal to the Magistrates' court within the same time frame against any conditions attached to a licence, a decision to reject a variation application or a decision to exclude an activity.

Other persons/responsible authority redress

Other people and responsible authorities can make representations in connection with a club premises certificate application, or apply for a review of an existing club premises certificate. Where this happens, a hearing will be held by the licensing authority within 90 working days of receipt of the application.

Our decision as a licensing authority will be communicated in writing within 5 working days of the hearing. Any appeals against this decision must be made to the Magistrates' court within 21 days of notice.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, Citizens Advice Consumer Service will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre

A club member may request a review of the certificate. We will give reasons for our response to the application in a notice.

Appeals against the decision of a review can be made.

Appeals must be made to the local Magistrates' court within 21 days of the decision appealed.

Other redress

Other persons may make representations to us before a certificate or any amendments to a certificate are granted. Where this happens, a hearing will be held to consider both the application and the representations. We will then give notices to detail the reasons for any outcome.

Other persons who made representations will receive notice of a failed application.

Other persons may request a review of a club premises certificate. The local licensing authority will give reasons for their response to the application in a notice.

Other persons may appeal if they argue that a certificate should not have been granted or that different or additional conditions or limitations on activities should have been made. They may also appeal against any variation of a condition.

Appeals against the decision of a review can be made.

Appeals must be made to the local Magistrates' court within 21 days of the decision appealed.

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Contact us
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ