Premises Licence

Running a licensed Premises such as a bar or pub that sells alcohol in England or Wales isn’t easy. Aside from all the obvious commercial pressures, there are regulatory hoops to jump through for almost everything. 

Part of completing the alcohol licensing for your venue includes applying for a Premises licence, and if you decide to make changes to your building’s layout, the hours you’re open or the conditions stated in the licence you’ll need to apply to have it updated.

You might also need permission to introduce gaming machines or even do something as simple as putting tables, chairs or signage on the street outside your venue.

If some or all of those requirements sound daunting, don’t worry: as one of the largest licensing solicitors in the UK, we deal with these types of requests every single day and can help you navigate this ever-changing area of law as simply and cost-effectively as possible, get in touch with us to discuss premises licensing for your venue.

What is a premises licence?

A premises licence is a licence issued pursuant to the licencing act 2003 authorising a defined area to be used for one or more licensable activity. Simply put, it is a licence to sell alcohol, provide entertainment and offer hot food and drink after 11pm.  

Whether you are taking over an existing premises such as a bar, pub or restaurant, or are planning on building a new premises you must ensure you have the correct licence before you begin trading.

Getting a premises licence 

The first step in applying for a premises licence is submitting your application to the local licensing committee. Notice of your application must also be displayed at the premises that the licence is intended for, as well as being displayed in the local newspaper and copies must be sent to a number of different authorities.

As part of the application process, the public and authorities such as the police may make comments on your premises licence application during a 28 day public consultation period, objections from any relevant parties will be considered by the local licensing committee.

On top of an up-to-date premises licence, all businesses also require at least one person - the designated premises supervisor to hold a current personal licence.

Find out more about getting a premises licence.

Designated Premises Supervisors (DPS)

Alongside a current premises licence, before opening your venue for trading you will need to appoint a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) who is expected to be in day-to-day control of the premises, usually a general manager or similar. The DPS also must hold a relevant personal licence to sell alcohol.

If for any reason your DPS leaves your business, you must appoint another person to become the new DPS and update your premises licence accordingly.

Find out more about Designated Premises Supervisors.

Updating a Premises Licence

Making changes to your premises that affects your alcohol licensing will almost certainly require updating your premises licence accordingly, however minor or major. Changes to the layout of your building including building or extension work, the hours you’re open for business or any of the non-mandatory conditions stated in the licence all require approval from your local authority. This is also known as a premises licence variation.

Minor changes to the layout of your premises or some non-mandatory conditions should be completed within 15 working days of submission, whereas bigger changes or anything that affects the number of hours you open for the sale of alcohol will require a full application and usually takes at least 28 days to complete from application submission.

Find out more about updating a premises licence.


New premises licence costs

Before undertaking any work on behalf of a client we will always take full instructions and provide pricing details and charging structures for the work to be undertaken. This will be tailored to your specific needs and requirements. If you want a more accurate idea of costs, please contact us so that we can ascertain what work needs to be undertaken.

Pricing for new premises licences vary on a number of factors such as:

  • The content of the Statement of Licensing Policy for the area where the site is located
  • whether there is a Cumulative Impact Policy in place
  • type and size of the premises
  • whether it is in a residential area
  • proposed hours of operation
  • type of operation
  • type of venue
  • type of clientele

To simplify the process, we tend to split the application into three sections: Pre-application, application and post-application. This ensures that we can help you to cover all aspects of your premises licence application to ensure the best outcome.

Find out more about new premises licence costs and how we structure the application process to help you.

Premises licence variation costs

As with new premises applications, premises licence variation applications follow the same legal process and accordingly the work we do to obtain a new licence for you is not dissimilar from a variation. 

There are a large number of factors to consider that will affect the complexity of a variation application including but not exclusively:

  • The content of the Statement of Licensing Policy for the area where the site is located
  • whether there is a Cumulative Impact Policy in place
  • type and size of the premises
  • whether it is in a residential area
  • hours of operation
  • type of operation
  • type of venue
  • type of clientele
  • trading history

Similarly to the new premises application process, we split the variation process into two sections: Application and post-application. This covers the fixed fees and any outcomes that could affect the overall cost.

Find out more about premises licence variation costs and how our application process can help you.

Transferring a Premises Licence

If you’re taking over an existing licensed business or are leaving a business where you are the Premises Licence Holder, you or the new operator can apply to have the relevant premises licence transferred.

Find out more about transferring a premises licence.

Gaming Machines

Often seen in many pubs and bars, small jackpot gaming machines provide entertainment to customers. The gaming machines most commonly found in pubs and bars are category C and have a jackpot of £100 or less, however there are different types of gaming machines available for premises that you may wish to install.

As a premises licence holder, you are entitled to install up to two category C machines once you have given the proper notice and fee to your local authority, which is called a Licensed Premises Notification (LPN). For higher jackpot machines, or to install more than two in your venue, we can help you to get permissions by obtaining a Licenced Premises Gaming Machine Permit (LPGMP)

Find out more about gaming machines for your venue.

Opening Checklist

Before opening the doors for business in your new premises, it is important to check that you have everything in order including the correct licences and permissions. Our opening checklist is designed to help you see what you need to have in order for your new premises, and if there are processes or applications that you may need our help with.

See our opening checklist for more information.


Designated Premises Supervisor

The person who is nominated as the single point of accountability in a premises, licensed to sell alcohol.  To be a Designated Premises supervisor you must be a Personal Licence holder.

Licensing Authority

  1. the council of a district in England,
  2. the council of a county in England in which there are no district councils,
  3. the council of a county or county borough in Wales,
  4. the council of a London borough,
  5. the Common Council of the City of London,
  6. the Sub-Treasurer of the Inner Temple,
  7. the Under-Treasurer of the Middle Temple, or
  8. the Council of the Isles of Scilly.


Any place and includes a vehicle, vessel or movable structure.