Premises licence

A premises licence allows a premises to carry out licensable activities.

A premises licence will be required for almost any business which:

  • sells alcohol
  • provides entertainment
  • provides late night refreshment

Entertainment includes:

  • theatrical performance
  • showing a film
  • indoor sporting event
  • boxing
  • wrestling (indoor or outdoor)
  • live music
  • recorded music
  • performance of dance

A premises licence application may also be submitted for one off large scale events which are:

  • likely to attract over 500 people
  • not covered by a temporary event notice

If you are selling alcohol at your premises, you will also need at least one person who holds a personal licence. A personal licence holder must be named on the premises licence and is known as the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS).

Apply online

You can apply online for a new premises licence using the link below.  Please note that if you are applying to sell/supply alcohol, you will also need to attach the online consent to be nominated as a Designated Premises Supervisor form. 

Apply online for a premises licenceYou can also apply online for:

Printable forms and guidance

How much does a premises licence cost?

When applying for a premises licence you will need to pay a fee and the amount you pay will be based on the property’s rateable value.  If the licence is approved an annual fee will then be charged.  Certain premises are exempt from paying fees.

Please contact the Licensing Service using the contact details below for more information.


How long is a premises licence valid?

A premises licence is valid 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).

Conditions and criteria

Any of the following can apply for a premises licence:

  • anyone who 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
  • a person from an educational institute
  • any other permitted person

View the legislation relating to premises licences.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

Application process

When applying for a premises licence you must include the correct 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 about the premises supervisor
  • whether any alcohol that is to be sold is for consumption on or off the premises or both
  • the steps proposed to be taken to promote the licensing objectives
  • any other required information

How long does it take to get a premises licence?

The time it takes depends on each application, it normally ranges from a minimum of one month up to three months, however this could be longer.

Once you submit your application a 28 day consultation period will take place.  This allows time for responsible authorities and/or any other person 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 and a notice will be put on the premises, in the local press and on the details of current applications webpage.

If representations are made against an application which cannot be resolved, 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, refuse to specify a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) on the licence or refuse the application.

Tacit authorisation applies to premises licence applications where no objections are received.  This means if you have not heard from the licensing team after 28 days from the date you submitted your 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 the licensing team will always contact you as soon as objections are received.

Get help with your application - Licensing Direct

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.

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

Can I appeal? 

An appeal process is available to the applicant and those who made representations if they are not happy with the decision of the Licensing Act Sub Committee.  Appeals can be made against new, 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.

Consumer complaints

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 the Licensing Service may be able to help or you can have a look on the Citizens Advice website, or the UK European Consumer Centre if you live outside the UK.

Useful links

Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

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