Home Page Council News Room Site Map Ask a question Website - information and help Access Keys

Premises Licence

Premises selling alcohol, providing regulated entertainment and/or providing late night refreshment will need to be licensed under the Licensing Act 2003.  Premises licences are issued by Cornwall Council as the local licensing authority.


A premises licence authorises the premises in question to carry out licensable activities. Almost any business that does one or more of these activities (i.e. sell alcohol, provide entertainment or provide late night refreshment) will need a premises licence. A premises licence application may also be submitted for one off large scale events, for example when an event is likely to attract over 500 people which is outside of the limits set for serving a temporary event notice.

Where the sale of alcohol is one of the activities you carry out at your premises, you will also need at least one personal licence holder. A personal licence holder must be named on the premises licence as the responsible person and is known as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS).

Where the sale of alcohol is one of the activities you carry out at your premises, you will also need at least one personal licence holder. A personal licence holder must be named on the premises licence as the responsible person and is known as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS).

Any of the following can apply for a premises licence:

  • anyone who uses carries on a business in the premises to which the application relates
  • 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
  • the proprietor of an educational institute
  • any other permitted person as set out in regulation

View the legislation relating to premises licences.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

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

  • 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)

It also includes the provision of entertainment facilities, that is facilities used for:

  • Making music (for example a piano)
  • Dancing (for example a dance floor)
  • Entertainment of a similar description (karaoke machine)

A premises licence has effect until the licence is revoked, suspended or surrendered. This means it is not time-limited (unless the applicant specifically requests this for example for a music festival).

An application fee is payable on submission and if the licence is granted an annual fee is charged. Fees are based on the rateable value of the premises to be licensed.  Certain premises are exempt from paying fees.

Please contact the Licensing Service for more information.

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

New grant applications must be in a specific format and be accompanied by any required fee, an operating schedule, a plan of the premises and a form of consent from the premises supervisor (for applications where the sale of alcohol will be a licensable activity).

An operating schedule will include details of:

  • the licensable activities
  • the times when the activities will take place
  • any other times when the premises will be open to the public
  • in the case of applicants who wish to have a limited licence, the period the licence is required for
  • information in respect of the premises supervisor
  • whether any alcohol that is to be sold is for consumption on or of the premises or both
  • the steps proposed to be taken to promote the licensing objectives
  • any other required information

Applications can also be made to vary or transfer a licence and vary the licence to specify a new DPS.  If representations are received in respect of these applications, the council may have to hold a hearing to determine them. Other applications that can be made are applications for an interim authority notice following the death, incapacity or insolvency of a licence holder or review applications.

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 this could be 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 to be published in the local press.  We also publish details of current applications online.

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

The Licensing Act Sub Committee will consider the application before them and the representations and evidence it hears. The sub committee can decide to grant the licence as applied for, modify the conditions, exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the licence, refuse to specify a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) on the licence or reject the application.

Tacit authorisation applies to premises licence 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 licence is granted as applied for.

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

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 relevant representations (ie representations that were not deemed frivolous or vexatious). 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 sub committee's decision.

If you have a problem with a premises, we recommend you contact the premises 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.

You can obtain paper application forms from licensing services or follow this link to download application forms and guidance for submission by post.


0300 1234 212