Frequently asked questions about premises licence applications

You might find the answers to these questions useful if you're applying for a new or variation to a premises licence.

Can I give alcohol away for free as part of an offer without a premises licence?

The 'sale by retail of alcohol' is a licensable activity. However, giving alcohol away for free is not. The definition of 'sale by retail of alcohol' means a financial transaction takes place to obtain the it.

For example, you could be a hairdresser offering a free glass of champagne with every haircut. If the champagne is only for paying customers, there's the need for a financial transaction. As such, the alcohol is being sold. This needs a premises licence.

If the champagne is available to anyone who enters the premises, no licence would be needed. For example, this would include:

  • paying customers
  • people booking an appointment
  • people waiting for their partner to get their haircut

In all cases, you'd still need to ensure that alcohol is not freely given to children or any vulnerable persons.

Do I need a premises licence for background music?

There are various exemptions to the legislation. With regard to background music, you generally won’t need a premises licence.

If music is incidental to the primary activity, it won't need a licence. Eg: incidental music played in a restaurant to entertain diners won't need a premises licence, unless it's the main event. Another example is morris dancing, which is also exempt.

However, you may need a music licence from PPL PRS.

There are also exemptions under the Live Music Act 2012.

Even with the exemptions, you may still wish to apply for recorded or live music on your premises licence. This will make sure you're covered for any future activities.

Do I need a premises licence for a one-off event?

If the event is a one-off, you should usually submit a temporary event notice to us. However, you'll need to apply for a premises licence if the event:

  • takes place over more than 168 hours
  • will have more than 499 attendees (including staff)

You may wish to speak to us and South Yorkshire Police before you apply. We'll be able to give you specific guidance for your event.

Please note, there are certain restrictions and limits to temporary event notices. If you regularly hold temporary events, it may be better for you to apply for a premises licence.

Do I need a premises licence to sell food?

You need a premises licence for the sale of late-night refreshment. This is any hot food or hot non alcoholic beverage sold between 11pm and 5am the following morning. Therefore, late night takeaways and 24-hour fast food restaurants have a premises licence, even though they sell no alcohol.

Although you may not need a premises licence, you may need a food premises licence.

I want to sell alcohol online. How should I do this?

Apply as normal, but put the hours for alcohol sales and opening times as 00:00 to 23:59 seven days a week. This is because anyone buying alcohol online could do so at any time. This would be regardless of whether the premises itself was open.

You should also give details in the 'licensing objectives' part of your application on how the alcohol will be delivered. Will this be a third party courier? If so, what contractual agreements do you have? These need to make sure deliveries protect children from harm (ie to verify their age). If you're delivering alcohol yourself, what age checks do you have in place? What happens to alcohol that can't be delivered if someone can't prove their age? What checks are made at the point of sale online and at the point of delivery?

What’s the difference between seasonal variations and non standard timings?

Seasonal variations, for example (but not exclusively), is where the activity will occur on extra days during the summer months.

Non standard timings. For example (but not exclusively), where you wish the activity to go on longer on a particular day, eg Christmas Eve.

You must be specific to the days and times your request is for. For example: 'New Year’s Eve - all activities extended until 1am the following morning'. We can't accept 'when we have parties' for instance.

What is regulated entertainment?

This is defined under the Licensing Act 2003 as:

  • a performance of a play
  • an exhibition of a film
  • an indoor sporting event
  • a boxing or wrestling entertainment (indoor and outdoor)
  • a performance of live music
  • any playing of recorded music
  • a performance of dance
  • entertainment of a similar description to that falling within:
    • the performance of live music
    • the playing of recorded music
    • the performance of dance

This is where the activity takes place in the presence of an audience and is provided to entertain.

If you're unsure if your activity is chosen, please contact us online.

What should I put in the 'licensing objectives' section?

You should read each licensing objective carefully. You need to think of the steps you could take to ensure that your premises licence won't hinder them.

For instance, to protect children from harm you may wish to use a Challenge 25 policy. This would make sure that anyone under the age of 18 will be unable to buy alcohol.

Anything you put in this section will be added to the licence as a condition if it's granted.

Please read our list of basic conditions for examples of what you can include. This is a list of common things included in licences to make sure the objectives are met.

Why has my application been refused?

Your application may have been refused as you've not provided everything needed for a valid application. Eg you might not have included a valid premises plan.

Check what you need to apply for a premises licence. You should also read the guidance notes in the application form and our frequently asked questions.

For any other queries about premises licences please contact us online.