Licensing Act 2003 (alcohol & entertainment licences)

The Licensing Act 2003 provides a system of regulation the sale or supply of alcohol, regulated entertainment and late night refreshment. The Home Office has responsibility for this legislation.


Detailed information and copies of forms for applications for premises licences, personal licences and club premises certificates and the city council's guidance notes are available from the individual page links in the general guidance section.

Please note that all forms are prescribed by law, and the city council has no control or discretion over their format.

Licensing Fees

Fees for applications for premises licences and club premises certificates are set by Government and are calculated on the Non-Domestic Rateable Value of the premises. You can obtain the Non-Domestic Rateable Value for your premises from your business rates bill or from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) or by telephoning the VOA on 03000 501501. Notes of the fees are contained in each set of premises or personal licence guidance notes.


If valid representations are made in respect of an application, a hearing by the Licensing (Licensing and Gambling) Sub-Committee may be necessary. The agendas and papers for these hearings will be published by the Democratic Services team prior to the hearing.


The sale or supply of alcohol, provision of regulated entertainment or late night refreshment must be authorised by a premises licence, club premises certificate or Temporary Event Notice (TEN). The penalty for doing so without an authorisation is severe - an unlimited fine and/or up to six months' imprisonment. In addition, anyone authorising alcohol sales must hold a personal licence (or have given a TEN).

Businesses buying alcohol from wholesalers: provisions from 1 April 2017

From 1 April 2017 all businesses selling alcohol to the public will need to ensure that the UK wholesalers they buy alcohol from have been approved by HMRC under the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS). They will need to check the wholesaler’s Unique Registration Number (URN) against the HMRC online database

More information is available from the Home Office and an online webinar is available.

If a business is found to have purchased alcohol from an unapproved wholesaler, they may be liable to a penalty or could even face criminal prosecution and have their alcohol stock seized.

Tables and chairs outside premises

If you wish to place tables and chairs on the highway outside your premises, you will need permission from the highways team

Movie and music licensing

Whether not the authority of a premises licence, club premises certificate or temporary event notice is required, the performance or reproduction of any copyright sound or visual work will need permission from the copyright owner. For more information contact PRS for Music Ltd. and Phonographic Performance Ltd. in respect of performances of music and recorded music or the Motion Picture Licensing Company Ltd. (trading as MPLC) and Filmbank Distributors Ltd. (t/a Filmbank Media) in respect of film or video works. The Independent Cinema Office may be able to advise in respect of the showing of copyright film or video recordings in a community setting.

Please note that the licensing authority has no involvement in these processes.

Brewing alcohol

You will need authority under the Licensing Act 2003 (premises licence, club premises certificate or temporary event notice) to sell alcohol, but you may also need to be licensed by HM Revenue and Customs, if you want to brew alcohol or distil alcohol and duty may need to be paid on any alcohol that you produce. In such circumstances you should also to contact Environmental Health and Trading Standards for advice.

Drinking in public places/Tables and chairs outside premises

Southampton is a Drinking Control Area under a Designated Public Places Order (DPPO). This may affect your business if you serve alcohol or permit your customers to consume alcohol outside your premises in a public place and you do not have either that area clearly indicated in your premises licence or do not have permission from the Highways teams for tables and chairs on the highway.

Other information