Club Premises Certificate

Clubs are organisations where members have joined together for particular social, sporting or political purposes and then combined to buy alcohol in bulk as members of the organisation to supply in the club. They commonly include Labour, Conservative and Liberal Clubs, the Royal British Legion, other ex-services clubs, working men's clubs, miners' welfare institutions, social and sports clubs.

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Cornwall Council’s Licensing Service offers assistance for all applications under the Licensing Act 2003.

For a fixed fee you can get your application right first time. The benefits to applicants include:-

  • Save time: applications can be delayed due to basic errors
  • Save money: we will help to ensure the process will not need to be re-started; you may avoid incurring additional costs in re-submitting press notices
  • Give peace of mind: we will make sure your application is correctly completed
  • Secure: we will ensure your application is electronically submitted and depending on the type of application, serve on the relevant Responsible Authorities

Please go to our Licensing Direct page for further details and to find out how you can take advantage of our services. Over 1000 applicants have used this service.  Customers surveyed said that they would either recommend or use this service again.

A club can apply for a club premises certificate for any premises which are occupied and used regularly for club purposes.

Applications must be made to Cornwall Council as the local licensing authority where the premises are situated.

Applications must be submitted with a plan of the premises, a copy of the rules of the club and a club operating schedule.

A club operating schedule is a document which must be in a specific format and which includes information on:

  • the activities of the club
  • the times the activities are to take place
  • opening times
  • if alcohol supplies are for consumption on or off the premises or both
  • the steps that the club propose to take to promote the licensing objectives
  • any other information that is required
If there are any alterations to the rules or name of the club before an application is determined or after a certificate is issued, the club secretary must give details to the licensing authority. If a certificate is in place this must be sent to the licensing authority with the new rules. If a certificate is in place and the registered name or address of the club changes the club must give notice to the local licensing authority of the change and provide the certificate with the notice.

A club may apply to a local licensing authority to vary a certificate. The certificate should accompany the application.

The local licensing authority may inspect the premises before an application is considered.

Fees are payable for each type of application relating to a club premises certificate.  If a Club Premises Certificate is granted an annual fee is charged.  Fees are based on the rateable value of the premises to be licensed.  Please contact licensing services for further details.

A club premises certificate (CPC) authorises the qualifying club to carry out qualifying club activities such as the supply of alcohol and provision of regulated entertainment.

Technically the club only sells alcohol by retail at such premises to guests.  Where members purchase alcohol, there is no sale (as the member owns part of the alcohol stock) and the money passing across the bar is merely a mechanism to preserve equity between members where one may consume more than another.  This explains why the 2003 Act often refers to the supply of alcohol in the context of clubs and not just to the sale by retail.  The Act does not prevent visitors to a qualifying club being sold alcohol as long as they are genuine guests of a member of the club or the club collectively.

Only qualifying clubs may hold club premises certificates.  In order to be a qualifying club, certain conditions must be satisfied:

  • a person may not be admitted to membership or be admitted as a candidate for membership, to any membership privileges without an interval of at least two days between their nomination or application for membership and their membership being granted
  • club rules must state that those becoming members without nomination or application cannot access membership privileges for at least two days between them becoming members and being admitted to the club
  • that the club is established and conducted in good faith
  • that the club has at least 25 members
  • that alcohol is only supplied to members on the premises by or on behalf of the club

Qualifying clubs should not be confused with proprietary clubs, which are clubs run commercially by individuals, partnerships or businesses for profit.  These require a premises licence and are not qualifying clubs.

Additional conditions in relation to the supply of alcohol must be complied with:

  • that the purchase of alcohol for the club and the supply of alcohol by the club is managed 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 as a whole 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 purchase of alcohol for the club and the supply of alcohol 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.  The institute can be managed by the committee or board where the board cannot be made up as detailed above but is made up of at least two thirds of members who were employed or are employed in or around coal mines and also by people who were appointed by the Coal Industry Welfare Organisation or by a body who had similar functions under the Miners' Welfare Act 1952.  In any case the premises of the institute must be held on a trust as required under the Recreational Charities Act 1958.

Regulated entertainment is entertainment provided in the presence of an audience, for the purpose of entertaining that audience. For example:

  • The performance of a play
  • The exhibition of a film
  • An indoor sporting event
  • Boxing or wrestling
  • A performance of live music
  • Any playing of recorded music
  • Performance of dance
  • Entertainment of a similar description (such as a karaoke)

View the legislation relating to Club Premises Certificates

The time taken depends on each individual application, however the time period normally ranges from a minimum of one month up to three months, however it could take longer.

When an application is submitted, a 28 day statutory consultation period will follow.  This allows time for responsible authorities and any individual, body or business who feels that the application could undermine one or more of the licensing objectives to make a representation (i.e. in support of / in objection to) the licence application in line with the four licensing objectives:

  • the prevention of crime and disorder
  • public safety
  • the prevention of public nuisance
  • the protection of children from harm

The application must be advertised during the consultation period by way of a notice on the premises and a notice published in the local press.   The council must also publish details of the application on its website.

If representations are made against an application which cannot be resolved through mediation, then the application will be heard by the council's Llicensing Act Sub Committee.  The hearing must be carried out within 20 working days from the end of the consultation period.

The sub committee will consider the application before them and the representations and evidence it hears.  The sub committee can decide to grant the certificate as applied for, modify the conditions applied for, exclude a qualifying club activity from the certificate, reject the application, suspend the certificate for a period not exceeding three months or withdraw the certificate. 

Tacit authorisation applies to club premises applications only where no objections are received.  This means if you have not heard from licensing services after 28 days from submission of the application, you can assume the certificate is granted as applied for.

If objections are received from responsible authorities and/or any other persons, then you must wait for the council to determine the application before any activities can take place.  Please note that licensing services will always contact you as soon as objections are received.   

Any person, a responsible authority or a member of the club is able to apply for a review of the club premises certificate.  The application must relate to one or more of the licensing objectives and explain how the objective is being undermined.

An appeal process is available to the applicant and those who made representation to an application, if they are not satisfied with the decision of the Licensing Act Sub Committee.

The licensing authority issues a notice of decision to the applicant and anyone who made representation to the committee.  Appeals can be made against new grant, variation and review applications. 

Any appeal must be lodged at the local Magistrates' Court within 21 days of the date the applicant was informed of the Committee's decision.

If you have a problem with a club, we recommend you contact the club directly to try to resolve the dispute.  If this is not successful then licensing services may be able to help or have a look on the Citizens Advice Bureau ‘Advice Guide’ webpages, or the UK European Consumer Centre if you live outside the UK.

A club premises certificate has effect until such time as it is suspended, withdrawn or surrendered. This means it is not time-limited unless the club asks it to be.

The Licensing Authority is obliged to keep a public register.  Please contact Licensing Services if you wish to view the public register.