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Licensing Act 2003 guidance

Licensing applies to anyone concerned with:

  • pubs and nightclubs
  • indoor sporting events
  • off licences
  • restaurants that serve alcohol
  • businesses offering hot foods or drinks between 11pm and 5am
  • hotels and guest houses and other places that serve alcohol
  • private members' clubs and social clubs
  • theatres and amateur dramatic groups
  • cinemas
  • organisers of occasional entertainment
  • live music performances

Frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Licensing Act 2003 (PDF 126KB / 9 pages)

Criminal offences under the Licensing Act


Licensing Act fees are set by the government and payment should be made with your initial application. An annual fee will then be applicable to maintain the premises licence.

The fee for a premises licence or club premises certificate is based on the non domestic rateable value of the premises. To find out your premises ratable value contact Business Rates

Live Music Act 2012

Under the Live Music Act 2012 live music will cease to be regulated entertainment in venues licensed for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises in the following situations:

  • when it is unamplified and takes place between 8am and 11pm
  • when it is amplified and takes place in the presence of an audience of 200 persons or less and is provided between 8am and 11pm

The premises must be open for the sale of alcohol during the time that the live music is provided for the exemption/s to take effect. Additionally, any condition attached to the Premises Licence relating to live music ceases to have effect in respect of the live music unless we say otherwise on the licence pursuant to a Review Hearing.

For those premises which are not licensed for alcohol sales, the act states that live music is not regulated entertainment when it is unamplified and takes place between 8am and 11pm.

Amplified music in unlicensed venues will still require formal authorisation from us such as a premises licence or temporary event notice. The act also removes the need to license entertainment facilities. This means dance floors, microphone stands and pianos etc.

Policies and guidelines

Statement of Licensing Policy (PDF 300KB / 39 pages)

Guidance under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 issued by The Department of Culture, Media and Sport. 

South Lakes best practice guidance (PDF 1.7MB / 37 pages) will help manage your premises responsibly.

For more information contact any partner agencies mentioned in the document.

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