Occasional Licence (to sell alcohol)

An occasional licence allows unlicensed premises to sell alcohol for a period of no more than 14 days.
A licensed private members club can also apply for an occasional licence if they intend to provide a function or event that is open to non-members.

ExclamationDue to recent changes in legislation, it is now necessary for holders of an occasional licence to also hold a public entertainment licence.
It is a criminal offence to hold an event for which a public entertainment licence is required. Without such a licence or without a reasonable excuse, you will be liable to a fine or imprisonment or both.

You can find guidance and information regarding the public entertainment licensing scheme here on the website, by email to licensing@argyll-bute.gov.uk or call 01546 604128.

Please note that applications need to be submitted 35 days prior to the event. (See Fast Track applications)


Make a planning application

Completing your application

How to apply

Apply online
If you would prefer to apply by post, you can download and print the application form (pdf 44.45 KB)

You will need the following information when completing your form:
  • Details of the applicant
  • a description of the premises where the licence will be issued
  • details of the activities carried out on the premises
  • the time period for when the licence will have effect
  • details of times when alcohol can be sold on the premises
  • if alcohol is to be sold for consumption on or off the premises or both
  • times when any other activities other than the sale of alcohol will take place on the premises
  • where alcohol is to be sold on the premises, whether children will have access to the premises and if so details of the ages of the children allowed to enter, the times when they are allowed to enter and the parts of the premises they are allowed to enter
  • Conditions will be attached to a licence.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us.

An occasional licence will be valid for no more than 14 days.
Read the mandatory conditions of the licence here



Contact details

Telephone: 01546 604128

Email: licensing@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Argyll and Bute Council
Governance & Law
Licensing Section
PA31 8RT


Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Criteria

Those eligible to apply for an Occasional Licence are a Premises Licence holder, Personal Licence holder or a representative of a voluntary organisation.

There is no limit to the number of licences or types of event granted to a premises licence holder or personal licence holder.

A voluntary organisation may only be issued with an occasional licence where the event to be licensed is connected to the activities of the voluntary organisation.  There is also a limit to the number of occasional licences that may be granted to a voluntary organisation in any period of 12 months-

  1. no more than 4 occasional licences each having effect for a period of 4 days or more, and
  2. no more than 12 occasional licences each having effect for a period of less than 4 days

In any period of 12 months, the total number of days on which occasional licences are issued must not exceed 56.


“Licensed Premises” hold a Premises Licence issued under the 2005 Act that allows them to sell alcohol on a daily basis – traditional public houses, nightclubs or dedicated off sales are examples of “Licensed Premises”. “Unlicensed Premises” simply refers to any premises other than those that are “Licensed” to sell alcohol on a continual basis.

The Application ProcessThe Application process

The Licensing Board will give notice to Police Scotland about the application. Police Scotland can serve a notice recommending that the licence would put crime prevention objectives at risk.

If the Licensing Board has not received any notice from Police Scotland, a report from a Licensing Standards officer or a notice of objection or representation from any other person they must grant the application.

If any of these have been received the Board must consider if there are grounds for refusal. If so the application will be refused, if not it must be granted.

Hearings may be heard when applications are being considered. If a hearing is not heard the applicant must be given the opportunity to comment on any notice or report.

The following are grounds for refusal:

  • the premises in the application are excluded premises
  • there are no exceptional circumstances for allowing the sale of alcohol over a 24 hour period or if the application requests the sale of alcohol off the premises before 10.00, after 22.00 or both
  • the granting of the application would not be consistent with one or more of the licensing objectives
  • considering the nature of the activities proposed, the location, character and condition of the premises and the types of people likely to visit the premises it is decided that the premises are unsuitable for selling alcohol

The Licensing Board must take into account any notice from Police Scotland or report of a Licensing Standards Officer.

Notification of a refusal or granting of an application will be given to the applicant, Police Scotland, the Licensing Standards Officer and any person who gave a notice of objection or representation. A statement of reason can be requested by any person served with such a notice.

Find out about the Licensing Board and read minutes of their latest meetings

See Occasional Licences pending


AppealsFast Track Process - (if you are holding a purvey - wake)

Licensing boards are able to grant an occasional licence where statutory timescales would otherwise render processing impossible. (These are used for purveys (wakes).)  In such circumstances the submission time of an application can be reduced from 35 days to no less than 24 hours where the Licensing Board is satisfied that normal timescales should be waived.  Applicants should make contact with the Licensing Board prior to any “Fast Track” application being made.

Applicants who are voluntary organisations or licensed clubs are reminded that Fast Track applications are included in, and are not additional to, the annual licence quota (see eligibility.)

Objections and AppealsObjections and Appeals

 If Police Scotland feels that if an occasional notice is granted it could affect crime prevention objectives they may serve a notice on the Licensing Board specifying as much. This notice must be served within 21 days of receipt of the original application notice.

Any person may object to an application, to the Licensing Board or make representations in support of the application or in relation to any conditions that should be attached to the licence.
Find out more about objecting to an application.

Appeals against the refusal of an application must be made to the Sheriff Principal of North Strathclyde, Paisley Sheriff Court, St James Street, Paisley, PA3 2AW.

Appeals can only be made under one of the following grounds:

  • the Licensing Board erred in law
  • the decision was based on incorrect material facts
  • the Licensing Board acted contrary to natural justice
  • the Licensing Board used their discretion in an unreasonable manner
  • if any of the following steps were taken and are disproportionate, that is that at a review hearing of a premises licence the licence was suspended, varied or revoked or the licence holder was given a written warning or that a personal licence was revoked, suspended or endorsed.