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Licensing Act 2003

The Licensing Act

The Licensing Act 2003 came into effect on 24 November 2005.

It established a single system for licensing premises which are used for:

  • the sale or supply of alcohol,
  • providing regulated entertainment
  • late night refreshment.

Licensable activities are:

  • To sell alcohol by retail
  • If you are a qualifying club, to supply alcohol to a club member, or to sell alcohol to a guest of a club member
  • To provide regulated entertainment
  • To sell late night refreshment - selling hot food or drink between 11:00pm and 5:00am for consumption on or off the premises, (including take-aways and mobile caterers) unless you are a hotel, staff canteen or campsite.

These licensable activities may only be carried on under, and in accordance with, one of the following:

The Act itself sets out key licensing objectives that must be promoted by the Council, as the licensing authority, in carrying out its duties under the licensing system. The licensing objectives are:

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

Licence holders, the Council and other agencies must all work together to promote these objectives.

Every premises where alcohol is supplied under the authority of a premises licence requires a Designated Premises Supervisor and such individuals must have a Personal Licence.

You will also need to be food registered or approved if you:

  • store food
  • prepare food
  • distribute or sell food (including drink)


Notices of review applications received will be made available on the website.

Statement of licensing policy

The Council has prepared a Licensing Policy which must be reviewed every five years or sooner if necessary.  The purpose of the policy is to set out the approach that the Licensing Authority intends to take when:

  • determining applications
  • and carrying out its duties with regard to regulation and enforcement. 

The policy does not seek to explain the various application processes, but:

  • separate guidance
  • and advice

on making an application or requesting a review of a licence is available from the licensing authority on request.  Applicants and members of the public are advised to contact Licensing Services in the event of any enquiry for appropriate advice.

Public Consultation – Licensing Policy Review

The Licensing Policy is not currently under review. 

Cumulative Impact Policies

Cornwall Council has CIPs in the following areas;

  • Newquay
  • Truro
  • Penzance and
  • Falmouth

What is cumulative impact?

Cumulative impact is where many premises have a detrimental impact to licensing objectives.

The latest cumulative impact assessment considered the following:

  • Crime data from the Police
  • Alcohol related health evidence from Public Health
  • Noise complaints data from Community Protection
  • Information from Town Councils
  • Information from residents

Further details, including considered evidence, are available in the Licensing Act Committee minutes (1st September 2022).

Cumulative Impact Statement

The assessment indicated the need for CIPs in the areas listed above.

The Licensing Policy therefore includes a Cumulative Impact Assessment Statement – this was approved by Cornwall Council on 17 January 2023 and will be reviewed at least every 3 years.

View the Licensing Act Policy

Who do the CIPs apply to?

The CIPs relate to new and variation applications including;

  • Premises Licences and
  • Club Premises Certificates

The CIPs relate to premises offering;

  • Alcohol (both on and off the premises)
  • Late-night refreshment


Throughout the year, officers of the Licensing Authority will carry out risk based and unannounced inspections of all licensed premises to ensure conditions of licence and safe standards are being maintained.  Should you have a concern about a licensed premises, please contact the Licensing Service by telephone, in writing or by email.

Further council information

There is a comprehensive range of business regulatory support services available to help and advise businesses to be more successful and compliant.

Other relevant information

Further information about the Licensing Act and the licensed trade can be found on the following websites:

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