Event and Premises licencing know-how
Getting ready to welcome the crowds!

Licencing premises – all you need to know

Most of us like a tipple and, for some of us, a journey in hospitality starts with a one-off event, bar, restaurant or pub – any of these are hard work and owners do it for the love of it. However, along with a passion for hospitality, you need a good head for paperwork. Whether you are holding a weekend event or planning on opening a licenced premises as a business venture, you are likely to be carrying out “Licensable activities”.

There’s no escaping the red tape involved so we thought breaking down the rules and regulations might be helpful. Grab a coffee and read up.

What are licensable activities?

Licensable activities include:
• selling alcohol
• serving alcohol to members of a private club
• providing entertainment, such as music, dancing or indoor sporting events
• serving hot food or drink between 11pm and 5am

So, you can see, whether it’s a one-off event like a village fete or a restaurant that is hopefully open for a good long while, you will generally need a licence whether Temporary Event Notice, or a Premises Licence.

Temporary Event Notice or “TEN”

What is it?
A Temporary Event Notice (or TEN), gives an event holder authorisation for any form of licensable activity. It can also be used to extend the hours of the licensable activities at a premises that already holds a licence, on a temporary basis.
Under a TEN, the event must have fewer than 500 people attending at all times (including staff), and the event must last no longer than 168 hours (7 days).

Who can apply?
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply for a TEN, but the application must be made by an individual, not a Company or organisation.

How many TEN applications can be made?
If the applicant holds a personal licence, they may apply for up to 50 TENs in a year, however it is worth noting that you do not need a personal licence to apply but if you don’t, you may only apply for up to 5 TENs in a year.

A single premises can only have up to 15 TENs applied for in one year, and the length of the events in that year must not total more than 21 days. A separate TEN will need to be applied for, for each event, and if there are separate but consecutive events, there must be at least a 24 hour gap between them.

Applications for TENs must be made at least 10 clear working days before the event is due to take place, but if this deadline is missed, all is not lost, as a ‘late TEN’ can be applied for. The latest a ‘late TEN’ can be applied for is 5 clear working days before the event, and a ‘late TEN’ cannot be applied for earlier than 9 clear working days before the event. If you do not hold a personal licence, you can apply for up to 2 late TENs per year, however if you do hold a personal licence, the limit is increased to 10 per year. Whether a usual TEN or a ‘late TEN’ is served, all will count towards the yearly limit of permitted TENs for an applicant and the premises.

Once an application is made, is that it?
Once the application is submitted, the police or Environmental Health are able to object. They must however do this within 3 working days of receiving it. They can however only object if they think the event lead to or cause:
• crime and disorder
• a public nuisance
• a threat to public safety; or
• children being put at risk of harm.

If there is an objection, the council’s licensing committee will hold a meeting unless all parties agree that a hearing isn’t needed. If a hearing does take place, the committee have the power to approve, add conditions or reject the notice. If a late TEN is objected to by police or Environmental Health, unfortunately the notice won’t be valid and the event cannot be held. Again, all is not lost if the TEN is refused, as the decision can be appealed.

The TEN is granted – what now?
Once a TEN is granted, a copy of the notice must be displayed where it can be easily seen and the original will need to be kept in a safe place where the event is held.

If the terms or conditions attached to the TEN are breached, there is a likelihood of facing prosecution. (You could also be fined if you make any false statements in your application).

If you are looking to hold a temporary event, it is always advisable to have a TEN in place, as if you carry out an activity that you should have a licence for (or allow your premises to be used for one) without a TEN, you can be sent to prison for up to 6 months or fined or both.

Premises Licence

Why a Premises Licence?
If you are planning on continuing licensable activities for longer than a TEN allows, or to cater for more than 500 people, then a premises licence will be required, even if the activities are for charity. Most premises Licences do not have an expiry date, but it is worth considering that there is an annual fee to keep it in place.

An off-licence also requires a Premises Licence, as they are licensed to provide ‘licensable activities’ as part of their business, in this instance, selling alcohol. Also, the term ‘off-licence’ means the business has a licence to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises, as opposed to a bar or pub which is only authorised to supply and sell alcohol on the premises (unless they are also granted an off-licence).

Premises Licences can also be used to licence one-off events at which more than 500 people are expected to attend, such as a beer festival for example.

Do I need a Personal Licence?
Every Premises that serves alcohol as a licensable activity will require a Personal Licence holder, and an appointed Designated Premises Supervisor to authorise other staff members to sell alcohol needs to either be on the premises or be contactable by the licencing authorities. So, even if you have a premises licence, you (or someone who works within your business) will require a Personal Licence.

How to apply for a Premises Licence
In order to apply, you will also need to submit a plan of the premises with your application to the local council, and have a firm idea of the licensable activities that will be carried out (including the times and days that these will occur).

You will also need to submit a plan on how you intend to look after the safety of the general public, as well as any minors (under 18s) during the licenced times.

Who else gets a say?
Once the application is complete, this is sent to the local licencing authority who are also likely to send it to (or require you to send the application to):
• The local chief of police
• The fire authority
• The local planning authority
• Relevant Health and safety authorities
• Social services
• Weights and measures Authority
• Public Health
• The Home Office.

The application has been made – what now?
Once the application is made, an “Application Notice” must be displayed at or on the premises for 28 days from the day after the application has been submitted. Only once these 28 days have passed will the licence be granted (unless someone opposes the application).

The application notice will also need to be published in a local newspaper.

The Licence is granted – what happens next?
Once the licence is granted, a copy must be displayed in a prominent place on the premises at all times, and all terms and conditions included in the licence must be abided by. If any of the terms are breached, it is very likely that the Designated Premises Supervisor will face prosecution.

We can help you get to your “Cheers!!”
Both TEN applications and Premises Licences can be applied for direct from the local council. However, we can certainly help to make sure that all bases are covered. If an application is incorrect or not completed in time, the process will need to be started from the beginning. We understand the stress of organising an event or trying to start up a business, contact us to see if we can help take at least one thing off your hands.


‘Leonie assisted in securing temporary & permanent licenses for our new business. This was my first experience applying for licenses, consequently, I had numerous questions & concerns, all of which Leonie handled, with patience & efficiency. The licenses were obtained successfully, without drama or delay’.

Mary Turner-Martin
Managing Director
Coach Works Ashford Ltd

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Information on this website is for the general purpose of highlighting potential issues and is not advice specific to any particular situation.

If, after reading our content, you have concerns about your protecting your business, please contact us for a chat and we will help you to review what you have in place and whether there are any gaps in your filing cabinet.

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