Anyone can have a say about licensing decisions - you can comment on an existing licence or a new application by writing to the relevant licensing authority (local council).

All premises selling alcohol to the public need licences (eg pubs, supermarkets, nightclubs).

You don’t have to live or work near the premises to comment on a licence.

Comment on a licence application

Anyone applying for a licence has to advertise their application in a local newspaper and put a notice outside their premises for 28 days.

The licensing authority also has to publish details of the application on its website.

If you want to comment, you have 28 days after the licensing authority gets the application. Your comments must be serious (ie not trivial) and relate to either:

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

If you comment, you’ll be invited to the licensing hearing, where the licensing authority may:

  • grant the licence
  • refuse the application
  • grant the licence but impose conditions (eg earlier closing times)
  • exclude certain activities from the licence (eg they may grant an alcohol licence but not allow live music)

Comment on an existing licence

If there are problems with a premises, you can ask for them to be reviewed if they relate to either:

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

Your request might be rejected if it’s trivial, is about an issue that’s been considered before or doesn’t relate to one of the above.

To ask for a review, write to:

  • the licensing authority (local council)
  • the licence holder
  • the ‘responsible authorities’ (details and addresses will be available from the licensing authority)

If your request for a review is accepted, the licensing authority will advertise this and ask for comments - people have 28 days to give them.

You’ll also be invited to the review hearing, where you can speak if you want to.

Decisions the licensing authority can make

After the hearing, the licensing authority might:

  • take no action
  • change, add or remove licence conditions
  • exclude certain activities from the licence
  • remove the ‘premises supervisor’ (the person named in the licence who controls the premises)
  • suspend the licence for up to 3 months
  • revoke the licence

Anyone involved in a licence review can appeal the licensing authority’s decision to the magistrates’ court.

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