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General Guidance Notes

NB: The contents of this document are provided as an information guide only. They are not a full and authoritative statement of the law and do not constitute or replace professional or legal advice.


The document is intended to offer guidance to applicants for licences under the Licensing Act 2003.It provides the basic information for applicants to help make a successful application. Incorrectly completed applications may need to be returned which will delay the processing of the application.

By reading the New Forest District Council Statement of Licensing Policy, applicants should understand how the council will administer the licences and authorisations and what New Forest District Council considers as important in an application.


The Licensing Act 2003 made fundamental changes to the licensing of premises that:

  • Sell/supply alcohol
  • Provide Regulated Entertainment
  • Provide Late Night Refreshment

Licensable Activities

Under the Act, 'licensable activities' include any of the following:-

  • The sale/supply of alcohol
  • Performance of a play
  • Exhibition of a film
  • Indoor sporting events
  • Boxing or wrestling events (whether indoors or outdoors)
  • Performing live music
  • Playing recorded music
  • Supplying hot food or drink between 11.00 pm and 5.00 am

If you provide one or more of the above activities you will need to be licensed. There are a few exemptions and advice can be obtained from New Forest District Council Licensing Services to see if you qualify.

Late Night Refreshment - Do you need a licence under the Licensing Act 2003?

The need for a premises licence for late night refreshment mainly concerns the type of food or drink that is sold i.e. hot food or hot drink, and the hours between which that hot food or hot drink is sold i.e. between 11pm and 5am.There are however exceptions.

You will need a licence for late night refreshment under the Licensing Act 2003 if:

  • You provide hot food or hot drink and any of your trading hours take place between the hours of 11pm and 5 am on any day of the week. This applies whether you are a pub, cafe, a restaurant, a take-away or a mobile catering vehicle e.g. burger vans, etc.

You will not need to be licensed for late night refreshment under the Licensing Act 2003 if:

  • the supply of hot food or hot drink is only between the hours of 5am and 11pm
  • the supply of hot food or hot drink between the hours of 11pm and 5am is free of charge. NB: where any charge is made either for admission to the premises or for some other item in order to obtain the hot food or hot drink, this cannot be regarded as "free of charge."
  • the premises only sell immediately consumable food such as bread, cold milk or cold sandwiches such as all night grocer's shops, supermarkets etc.
  • there is no admission to members of the public and the supply of hot food or hot drink are to an employee by a particular employer e.g. staff canteen
  • there is no admission to members of the public and the supply of hot food or hot drink are supplies to persons staying overnight in an hotel, guest house. lodging house, hostel, a caravan or camping site or other premises whose main purpose is providing overnight accommodation
  • the supply of hot food or hot drink is by a registered charity or anyone authorised by a registered charity
  • the supply of hot food or hot drink is made on vehicles, unless that vehicle is permanently or temporarily parked.(If you are a mobile caterer e.g. burger van, fish and chip van, etc, selling hot food or hot drink from the vehicle, you will need a separate licence for each location where you park, if you are selling between 11pm and 5am)
  • the supply of hot drink between the hours of 11pm and 5 am is by vending machine established on the premises for that purpose, so long as the machine is one to which the public have access and it is operated by members of the public without any involvement of the staff on the premises with the payment being inserted in the machine. This exemption only applies to hot drink, not hot food (see below)

The exemption will not apply and you will need a licence if:

  • the premises supply hot food for a charge by vending machine when the food has been heated for the purposes of supply, even though no staff on the premises may have been involved in the transaction

Regulated Entertainment - Do you need a licence under the Licensing Act 2003?

You will need to licence for regulated entertainment if your business includes providing:

  • the performance of a play
  • an exhibition of a film
  • an indoor sporting event
  • a boxing or wrestling match (indoor and outdoor)
  • a performance of live music (unless incidental or is covered by the provision of the Live Music Act 2012)
  • any playing of recorded music (unless incidental to another activity)
  • a performance of dance
  • entertainment of a similar description to that falling within live music, the playing of recorded music and the performance of dance

and any of the above takes place in presence of an audience.

See Other useful links: below.

N.B.  The need to license for late night refreshment is governed by the type of food and the hours you are open, as detailed previously.  In relation to regulated entertainment, there are no qualifying hours, so if you provide regulated entertainment during any hours you are open, then you will need to licence for the entertainment you provide.


Premises that are used for any licensable activity must be licensed by either:

Additionally, if the licensable activity includes the sale of alcohol under a Premises Licence, then there must also be:

  • a person to act as a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), and
  • a person to authorise the sales of alcohol

These individuals must hold a Personal Licence.

NB: The requirement for a DPS and a personal licence holder to authorise sales do not apply to premises operating under a Club Premises Certificate or a Temporary Event Notice.

Premises Licence

A Premises Licence permits licensable activities to take place on or from a defined area (this can also include places in the open air), a building, part of building, a vessel, vehicle or temporary structure. A Premises Licence application can be made by an individual, several individuals, a company or organisation, or other prescribed persons such as individuals acting as representatives for a company or individual.  If the premises are leased, the freeholder has a right to inform New Forest District Council that they own, part own, or occupy the premises and therefore have a right to know of any applications, notices and request other information.

Club Premises Certificate

A Club Premises Certificate permits licensable activities to take place at the premises of a "qualifying club".  A qualifying club applying for a Club Premises Certificate does not need a Personal Licence holder or premises supervisor as there is no sale of alcohol by retail taking place. Please make sure that the club rules state that alcohol is not to be sold to under 18's and that the club rule book makes clear the policy for guests. Clubs should carefully consider applying for a Club Premises Certificate or a Premises Licence. Please notify the Licensing Team of changes of secretary. You may not apply for a Premises Licence or a Club Premises Certificate if you or any of your committee members are under 18 years of age. You can apply on behalf of a committee.

The applicant for a Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate does not need to be a Personal Licence holder.

Personal Licences

A Personal Licence is issued to an individual to permit that person to authorise the sale of alcohol from a premise that itself is suitably licensed for the purposes of selling alcohol by retail. If your business does not include the sale of alcohol you will not need a Personal Licence. The premises, however, will still need to be licensed for the other licensable activity / activities involved.

Before you can apply for a Personal Licence you must complete an appropriate training course.

With your application for a Personal Licence you should also submit a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check (not more than one month old) to prove that you have not been convicted of any relevant offences. If you have no convictions, are suitably trained and are over 18 there is no reason why you should not qualify for a Personal Licence.

You must apply to the local authority for the area in which you normally reside. A Personal Licence lasts for ten years and in future years you will re-apply to the local authority that issued your first licence, regardless of where you live in the future.

Designated Premises Supervisors and Authorised Sales Of Alcohol

A Personal Licence holder may give their consent to become the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) for a premises licence application. A DPS is a legal requirement for a Premises Licence where the sale of alcohol is involved. The DPS has a legal responsibility for the day to day control and management of that premises under the terms of the licence. Also every sale of alcohol under the Premises Licence must be made or authorised by a person who holds a Personal Licence. It should be noted, however, that not all staff are required to be Personal Licence holders, but it is advisable for premises retailing alcohol to have enough Personal Licence holders to authorise sales. It should also be noted that there can only be one DPS for any one premise at any one time.

Personal Licences are not required in qualifying clubs, permitted temporary events and for Premises Licences that do not retail alcohol.

Responsible Authorities

You must submit a copy of your application for a premises licence or club registration certificate to all Responsible Authorities. It is the applicant's responsibility to send the copies. Failure to send a copy to all responsible authorities will result in an invalid application. For your own benefit you may wish to get a receipt for the delivery of the applications or send the applications by registered post and keep the tickets as evidence that the applications have been sent.

The Responsible Authorities must confirm to the Licensing Authority that they have received copies of the application. Without this confirmation the Licensing Team will not consider the application as complete. Incomplete applications will be rejected and returned to the sender. The application must then be resubmitted.


The applicant has a duty to advertise any application for a Premises Licence or a Club Premises Certificate in a local newspaper and on the premises. The applicant must display a pale blue adobe icon notice [252kb] minimum A4 size with text written legibly in black or typed in black in a font of a size equal to or larger than 16, in a prominent position at or on the premises concerned which will detail the changes. This notice must be displayed for not less than 28 consecutive days. The applicant must also advertise their application in a local newspaper circulating in the relevant part of New Forest district such as the Lymington/New Milton Times or the New Forest Post etc. The docs icon newspaper notice [60kb] must be circulated on at least one occasion during the period of 10 working days starting the day after giving the application to New Forest District Council Licensing Team, both the newspaper notice and the notice for the application will contain the following information:

  • The relevant licensable activities proposed to carry on at the premises
  • The proposed changes of the application (what makes the application a simultaneous variation)
  • The name of the applicant or club
  • The postal address of the premises, or if not applicable a description of the premises concerned
  • Details of the postal address and, where applicable, the worldwide web address, where the register of New Forest District Council is held and where it can be inspected
  • The dates between which an interested party and a Responsible Authority may make representations to New Forest District Council Licensing Team.(This will be 28 consecutive days from date of receipt by NFDC of properly completed application form)
  • A statement that all representations must be made in writing to the Licensing Department, New Forest District Council, Appletree Court, Lyndhurst, Hants, SO43 7PA
  • A statement that it is an offence knowingly or recklessly to make a false statement in connection with an application and the maximum fine (not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale £5000) for which a person is liable on summary conviction for the offence

If there are no representations within 28 consecutive days after a complete application form has been submitted with the appropriate fees and other paperwork, and appropriate notices in the papers and on the premises, the licence will be granted.

However, if representation from any interested parties or Responsible Authorities has been received, the Licensing Team will decide whether the representation is relevant. If the Licensing Team find the representation relevant they will arrange, if possible,a mediation meeting between the relevant parties to try and find a reasonable compromise. There is potential that the informal mediation process resolves the concerns of the parties making representation but may have included material changes to the application. It will be a New Forest District Council Officer who will make the decision regarding whether the application constitutes a new application. If this informal process is unsuccessful a hearing before the Licensing Panel will ensue. All relevant parties will be notified of when the hearing is to take place. A decision will be made by the Licensing Panel and the details of that decision will be circulated to the parties concerned.

The applicant (or objector) does have a right to appeal and this should be made to the Magistrates' Court appropriate to the location of the premises concerned. Professional advice should be sought where it is uncertain what the best course of action should be.

Should you require further help or guidance then please make sure you have read all the advice and guidance contained on the New Forest District Council web site.

If you are still unsure then please contact

New Forest District Council Licensing Services
Appletree Court

Tel : 023 8028 5505

Other useful links:

adobe icon Live Music Act 2012 Summary [45kb],

adobe icon S182 Guidance (Regulated Entertainment) [254kb],

adobe icon Incidental music [38kb]

Updated: 31 Oct 2017
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