Applying for a review of a premises licence

People who live or work in the vicinity of a premises licensed to sell alcohol, provide entertainment, or sell hot food or hot drink between 11pm and 5am, can ask the council to review the licence if they are being adversely affected by the operation of the licence.

A review must be based on a matter arising at or in the vicinity of the licensed premises and be connected to one or more of the licensing objectives:

  • Prevention of crime and disorder
  • Public safety
  • Prevention of public nuisance
  • Protection of children from harm

Who can apply?

The licensing authority and 'responsible authorities' such as the council’s Environmental Protection team can apply for a review. For example, if environmental protection officers have received substantiated complaints of noise.

Similarly, ‘interested parties’ (people who live or work in the vicinity of a licensed premises, or a body representing such persons) may initiate a review.

Anyone who believes that a review of a licensed premises may be necessary in order to promote the licensing objectives should begin by keeping a note of their reasons for concern. Such a note may be useful in any subsequent hearing should that be necessary.

Please note that we cannot accept an application for review if the comments or objections (otherwise known as 'representations') in support of the application are frivolous, vexatious or repetitious.

Frivolous or vexatious will bear their ordinary meaning. Frivolous means silly or trivial; vexatious means done to cause annoyance or distress. The licensing authority must form a view as to whether a reasonable person would consider the representations to be frivolous or vexatious. A representation is considered repetitious if it is identical or substantially similar to one already considered by the licensing authority when the premises licence was first granted, or it is identical or substantially similar to a ground for review in an earlier application which has already been determined.

Applying for a review

When applying for a review it is important to remember that a copy of your application will be made available to the public, and you should be willing to present your views to the council’s Licensing Sub-Committee. You cannot apply for a review anonymously.

If you have good reason you can ask another person such as a local MP or local councillor to make a representation on your behalf. It will be a matter for the MP or councillor to decide whether they should agree to your request. They are not obliged to do so; however, most elected representatives are happy to help residents with this sort of issue, and there is no requirement for them to live in the vicinity of the premises in question for them to be able to make representations on behalf of residents that do.

Guidance and application forms can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Please note that application form can be filled in on a computer and printed off for submission but completed forms must be signed and submitted to us as hard copy.

If you want to fill in your application by hand, print out the form and complete it using black ink and block capitals. This is important because the form will be scanned.

Advertising a review

When we receive an application to review a premises licence, we have to advertise the application on or near the premises concerned and at the council offices. The advertising has to take place for 28 days and will contain details of the grounds for review. The name and address of the person who has applied for the review will be included in this information.

Hearing a review

Following the end of the advertising period we have one month in which to hold a hearing to consider the review application. Everyone who has made representations, as well as the licence holder, will be invited to attend the hearing which will be open to the public. All papers relevant to the hearing will also be publicly available. This will include details of who applied for the review.

The licence holder will be able to respond to the request for the review and can be legally represented at the hearing. Both parties can call witnesses.

The review panel will want to find out all the facts about the problem that has happened as a result of the operation of the premises, and will ask questions of the applicant, his or her witnesses and of the licence holder and their witnesses.

At the hearing, the review panel’s powers are far reaching and they may:

  • Decide to take no further action if members find that the review does not require any steps to promote one or more of the licensing objectives
  • Issue an informal warning and/or recommend improvement by a particular deadline
  • Add new conditions to the licence, e.g. reduce hours of trading or require door supervisors at particular times
  • Exclude a licensable activity, e.g. exclude the performance of live music
  • Remove the designated premises supervisor
  • Suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months
  • Revoke the licence altogether

The applicant for the review, the premises licence holder and any person who submitted a representation all have a right of appeal against the panel’s decision.