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Apply for a premises licence

Information to help you apply for a premises licence. We can only deal with applications relating to premises located within County Durham.

What you need a licence for

You need a licence if you:

  • sell or supply alcohol
  • provide regulated entertainment
  • supply hot food or drinks between 11.00pm and 5.00am

Alternatively, if you are a qualifying club, you will need a club premises certificate.

The requirement for this licence comes from Licensing Act 2003, under which we act as the Licensing Authority for premises located in County Durham.

Regulated entertainment

'Regulated entertainment' is considered to be:

  • a performance of a play
  • an exhibition of a film
  • an indoor sporting event
  • boxing or wrestling entertainment
  • a performance of live music
  • any playing of recorded music
  • a performance of dance
  • entertainment of a similar description falling within the last three categories (but only where the entertainment takes place in the presence of and for the purposes of entertaining that audience or spectators) 

Who can apply for a licence

Any of the following may apply for a premises licence:

  • anyone who uses or carries on a business in the premises to which the application relates to 
  • a recognised club
  • a charity
  • a health service body
  • a person who is registered under the Care Standards Act 2000 in relation to an independent hospital
  • a chief police officer of a force in England and Wales
  • anyone discharging a statutory or function under Her Majesty's prerogative
  • a person from an educational institute
  • any other permitted person.

Applicants must not be under 18 years of age.

Apply for a licence

Your application must include as much information as possible about your premises and the activities you want to happen there.

To make changes to a licence such as varying or transferring a licence, see our Make a change to a premises licence page.

What you must do when you apply for a licence

When you apply for a licence you will need to supply supporting information to include with your application:

You must also:

Operating schedule

Your application must include information about your operating schedule. An operating schedule should include details of:

  • the licensable activities
  • the times when the activities will take place and any other times when the premises will be open to the public
  • information regarding the person who will be specified in the Premises Licence as the Designated Premises Supervisor
  • whether the supply of any alcohol is for consumption on or off the premises (or both)
  • the steps proposed to be taken to promote the licensing objectives
  • the layout of the local area and physical environment including crime and disorder hotspots, proximity to residential premises and proximity to areas where children may congregate
  • any risk posed to the local area by the applicants' proposed licensable activities
  • any local initiatives (for example, local crime reduction initiatives or voluntary schemes including local taxi marshalling schemes, street pastors and other schemes) which may help to mitigate potential risks
Plan of your premises

You must include a plan of your premises to 1:100 scale.

The plan must show:

  • the boundary of the building and any external and internal walls
  • the location of entry and exit points to the premises
  • escape routes if different
  • the area(s) where each licensable activity is to take place
  • fixed structures or objects in a temporarily fixed location (not furniture)
  • the location and height of any raised areas such as a stage
  • the location of any stairs, steps, elevators and/or lifts
  • public conveniences
  • fire safety equipment
  • the kitchen if applicable
Advertise your application

You must advertise your application by a notice at the premises and in a local newspaper.

Notice at the premises

You must display a notice on the premises for a period of no less than 28 consecutive days starting on the day after the day which the application was submitted to us. Once you have submitted your application, we will notify you by email whether your application has been accepted as complete and we will inform you of the date any representations should be submitted by, which you will need to include in the notice.

This notice must be: 

  • A4 size or larger
  • pale blue in colour
  • printed or typed in black, in a font size of at least 16
  • on display at the premises where it can be conveniently viewed from the exterior of  the premises
  • displayed every fifty metres along the external perimeter of the premises for larger premises

Notice in a local newspaper

You must place the notice in a local newspaper. The notice must be published at least once in the period of ten working days, starting the day after a complete application has been submitted to us. We will notify you whether your application has been accepted as complete and we would advise you not to place the notice in a newspaper until you have received this confirmation. You will receive this confirmation by email and we will inform you of the date any representations should be submitted by, which you will need to include in the notice.

Send your application to responsible authorities

You must submit a copy of your application and required documents to all responsible authorities.

Download List of responsible authorities (PDF) [98KB]  for contact details for the responsible authorities:

Other people and responsible authorities then have 20 working days in which to make representations about the application to us (as the licensing authority). Our Reviewing and making representations about a club or premises page has more information about other people and responsible authorities who can can make representations in connection with a premises licence application.

How your application is assessed

We aim to assess correctly completed application within 90 working days. We will acknowledge your application within 5 working days of receipt. Please contact us if you have not received acknowledgement within 10 working days.

If you have not heard from us within 90 days, 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.

If we receive a relevant representation (in other words, they are not deemed to be frivolous or vexatious), it will be necessary to hold a hearing. This hearing must be held within 20 working days of the end of the representation period. The premise licence may then be granted - subject to conditions - or the application may be rejected. Licensable activities listed in the application could also be excluded.

We will serve a notice of our decision to the following within five working days of the hearing:

  • the applicant
  • any person who has made relevant representations
  • any responsible authority who has made relevant representations

Change or transfer a licence

Applications can be made to vary or transfer a licence. Similar to applying for a licence, a hearing will take place if any relevant representations are made or conditions relating to a transfer are not met.

All other matters arising during the life of a premises licence that are controlled by the Licensing Act 2003, can be dealt with online. Please see Make a change to a premises licence for details.

How to appeal

If your application for a licence is refused, you can appeal to a Magistrates' court within 21 days of notice of the decision. You also have 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, a decision to reject a transfer application or a decision to exclude an activity or person as designated premises supervisor.

Fees for a licence has a list of premises licence fees included in their alcohol licensing fee levels. Premises licence fees are statutory and are payable annually.

Consumer complaints

An interested party or responsible authority may apply to the licensing authority to review the premises licence. Where this happens, a hearing will be held 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.

Make a complaint

Contact us if you have any complaints concerning an existing premises licence.

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