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.

Christmas Support Payment for Wet-led Pubs

Check if you are eligible for the Christmas Support Payment

Cash Grants / Payments to the "Wet" Pub Trade - 7 December 2020

Support grant/payment information is available under the Cash Grants section

Local Restriction Tiers : What you need to know

For further information on the local restriction tier system that will be in place from Wednesday 02 December 2020, including what you can and cannot do in each tier.

Coronavirus National Restrictions from 5 November 2020

Coronavirus update 22 September 2020

Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September). Further guidance is available

The 6 person limit (14/09/2020)

From Monday 14 September, you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes. There will be a limited number of exemptions. COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together. This limit will be enforceable in law. See refreshed guidance on social contact,including the exceptions to the 6 person limit

Venues required by law to record contact details (10/09/2020)

Premises and venues across England must have a system in place to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff in the latest move to break the chains of transmission of coronavirus.
The minimum details that need to be recorded are:
• name
• contact number
• date of visit
• arrival time
• departure time, if possible 
 Further information is available

Business and Planning Act 2020

The latest information including the Section 172F statement template

Important information for the Licensed Trade during the Covid-19 crisis

The current guidance for licensed premises re-opening is:

From 4 July 2020: hospitality (such as food service providers, pubs and accommodation) and leisure facilities (cinemas) that can meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines can open.

Guidance is being regularly updated. Updates can be viewed at:

The guidance below will be of assistance to the Trade

The Business and Planning Bill 2019-21

The Business and Planning Bill 2019-21 received Royal Assent on 22 July 2020 and its provisions came into effect immediately under section 24 of the new Act.


  • Limits off-sales extensions to 11pm at the latest
  • Any new permissions for off-sales do not apply to times when the premises licence does not allow sales of alcohol for consumption in outdoor areas of the premises.

Off-Licence extensions guidance

Latest update from the government - dated 9 July 2020

  1. Guidance on the further easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions from 4 July 2020

  2. Guidance for keeping workers and customers safe in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway service

  3. Guidance for keeping workers and clients safe in close contact services

  4. Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows. (The visitor economy)

The Licensing Authority is aware many licensed premises are considering a possible extension of outside areas for the consumption of alcohol. Please be advised any extension to the outside area may require permission from ‘Tables & Chairs’ Licensing.

Currently it is likely this area is not covered on your premises licence for the supply by retail of alcohol without a variation of the premises licence.

We are keen to work and support the licensed trade at this very difficult time, we must remain focused on the licensing objectives and have some concerns relating to noise issues with reference to the prevention of public nuisance. There are also added concerns with street drinking and drinking in public places.

It is therefore recommended that any changes being considered to any outside areas for the consumption of alcohol is highlighted to the Licensing Authority and the Police Licensing Team at the earliest opportunity.

Licence fees

Licensing Act 2003 fees are set centrally. The Licensing Authority does not have flexibility on this matter and the Act does not provide any mechanism to refund licence fees. Reminder letters shall be sent when this is due.

We are keen to support and work with the licensed trade during these ongoing challenging times and are fully aware some licence holders may currently have difficulty with this payment at this time. If your business has been severely impacted by the Covid 19 restrictions, please make contact with us by emailing . While there is a requirement for the payment to be made, on a case by case basis, we will consider delaying the imposition of any suspension of the premises licence.

Dealing with non-compliance

If you are operational but struggling with specific conditions due to the pandemic, please contact us and make us aware you may be breaching conditions. We will consider each case on its own merits and weigh up the impact of potential breaches on the licensing objectives to establish if there is a need for flexibility.

If it is determined that non-compliance with a licence condition cannot be temporarily disregarded, licence holders would be required to rectify any breaches as soon as reasonably practicable and with communications be maintained with your designated officer.

New emergency premises closure requirements brought in by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 (‘the Business Closure Regulations’) gives councils powers to close certain businesses and other venues that involve social contact without essential grounds for this to take place. These powers are also held by the Police and other Local Authority officers.

Licensed premises found to be breaching the legislative framework in place to prevent coronavirus may face formal action with consideration towards a premises licence review application with a view to revoking the licence.


A Pre-opening checklist is available.

Alcohol Delivery Service 

Information relating to an alcohol delivery service is available.


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.

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