Premises Licence (for premises to sell alcohol)

Licence summary   
If you wish to sell alcohol, your premises must be licensed.

Applications are made to your local licensing board.

You must be 18 years or older to make the application which must include a description of the premises, an operating plan, a layout plan of the premises, and certificates for planning, building standards and, if relevant, food hygiene.

Your premises will also require a personal licence holder to sell and authorise the sale of alcohol.

Conditions will be attached to a licence.

Eligibility Criteria   
Applicants must be over 18 years of age and cannot be a premises holder for another licensed premises.

Regulation Summary         
A summary of the regulation relating to this licence

Application Evaluation Process   
Applications must contain a description of the premises and be accompanied by an operational plan, a layout plan, a planning certificate, a building standards certificate and if applicable, a food hygiene certificate.

An operating plan (pdf 146.26 KB) will detail the following:

  • the activities to be carried out on the premises
  • the times when alcohol will be sold
  • whether alcohol is to be sold for consumption on or off the premises or both
  • times when any activities other than the sale of alcohol will be carried out
  • where alcohol is to be sold for consumption on the premises a statement detailing whether children or young people will be allow on the premises and if so details of the ages of children or young persons to be allowed entry, the times at which they will be allowed entry and the parts of the premises they can enter
  • the capacity of the premises
  • specific information about the premises manager
  • any other information required in relation to the premises and the activities to be carried on

The licensing board will give notice of the application, together with a copy of it, to the following:

  • every person who has a notifiable interest in the land neighbouring the premises
  • any community council for the area the premises is situated
  • the council for the area the premises is situated, unless the council are the applicant
  • the chief constable for the area
  • the local authority for the area in which the premises is situated

The chief constable must give a notice that the applicant or connected people have not been convicted of a relevant offence and detail any convictions. A report detailing all cases of antisocial behaviour that have taken place on or around the premises and all complaints and other representations concerning antisocial behaviour within the previous year will also be prepared.

A Licensing Board must consider any notices it receives relating to representations or objections and serve a copy of the notice on the applicant.

A hearing must be held to determine the application. If any of the grounds for refusal apply the application must be refused.

The following are grounds for refusal:

  • the premises 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 applicant has had another application refused within the last 12 months
  • 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
  • that if the application was granted there would be too many licensed premises in the vicinity

If it is felt that an application would be allowed with a modification and the applicant accepts the modification, the licence must be granted.

If the application is refused the Licensing Board must give reasons for the refusal.

If an applicant or a connected person is convicted of an offence after the date the application was submitted but before it is determined they must notify the Licensing Board. If such information is received a Licensing Board must suspend the application and give notice to the chief constable of the conviction. The chief constable must respond by way of a notice within 21 days as to whether the conviction can be confirmed and if so if it is a relevant or foreign offence.

Transfer of Premises Licence

Applications to transfer the licence to another person (the transferee) must be accompanied by the premises licence or if this is not possible with a statement saying why the licence cannot be produced. A Licensing Board will give notice of such an application to the chief constable who must respond within 21 days with a notice stating whether the transferee has been convicted of a relevant or foreign offence.

A person other than the premises licence holder can apply to have the licence transferred if the licence holder dies or becomes incapacitated, becomes insolvent, is dissolved or the premises is transferred to another person (whether by sale or otherwise). The same process will apply to such an application which must be accompanied by the premises licence. Applications to vary licences can be made at the same time.

Transfer a Premises licence online

Variation of a Premises Licence

Applications to vary a licence must be made to the Licensing Board and must be accompanied by the premises licence or if this is not possible with a statement saying why the licence cannot be produced. If the variation is minor the application must be allowed. For any other application a hearing must be held.

Full details of what constitutes a “variation” can be found at Section 29 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Licensing (Minor Variations) (Scotland) Regulations 2011

If any of the grounds for refusal apply, the application must be refused. The grounds for refusal are the same as above except that an application for a variation cannot be allowed if a previous application has been made and rejected within the previous 12 months.

See also Objections and Representations

Premises under Construction or Conversion

Provisional Premises Licence - A premises licence application may be made despite the fact that, at the time the application is made, the premises are yet to be, or are in the course of being, constructed or converted for use as licensed premises.  A premises licence issued in respect of any such premises does not take effect unless and until it is confirmed by the Licensing Board which issued it.

If a premises licence issued in respect of any such premises is not confirmed before the end of the provisional period, then at the end of that period the licence is treated as revoked.

The provisional period is 4 years beginning with the date of issue of the licence.

The Licensing Board issuing the provisional premises licence has the power, in certain circumstances, to extend the provisional period as the Board considers appropriate.

Temporary Premises Licence -  is a licence authorising the holder of a premises licence to sell alcohol on a temporary basis from another premises (the “temporary premises”) while the licence holder’s premises (the “principal premises”) are undergoing, or are to undergo, reconstruction or conversion. 

 The Licensing Board must be satisfied that:

a)     The temporary premises are suitable for the sale of alcohol, and

b)     It is necessary to grant the application to enable the applicant to carry on business pending reconstruction or conversion of the principal premises.

A temporary premises licence has effect for such period of not more than 2 years beginning with the date of its issue as the Licensing Board may determine, and is subject to the same conditions as those to which the premises licence in respect of the “principal premises” is subject at the time the temporary premises licence is issued, with such exceptions or variations (if any) as the Licensing Board considers appropriate.

The holder of a temporary premises licence may apply to the Licensing Board to extend the period during which it has effect for such further period of not more than 12 months as the Licensing Board determines.

Obligations of Premises Licence Holders

The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 (Part 3) imposes certain obligations on Premises Licence Holders who have been charged with any relevant offence or who have been convicted of any relevant offence as follows:  

  • Where a Premises Licence Holder is charged with any relevant offence, that person is required to inform the court that they are a Premises Licence Holder; and
  • If convicted of any relevant offence, the Premises Licence Holder must notify the licensing board within 30 days of the conviction.

Other obligations imposed on Premises Licence Holders include: 

  • To notify the licensing board of a change of name and/or address;
  • To report the loss or theft of Premises licence; and
  • To keep, display and produce the Premises licence on the premises

For further information on the obligations of Personal Licence Holders or any other aspect of alcohol licensing, please contact your Licensing Standards Officer.

Will Tacit Consent Apply? 
No.  It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted.  If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it.  You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes Service or use the contact details below.

Apply online 
You can apply for a Premises Licence Online
Or if you prefer, you can download the forms to apply for a premises licence (doc 60 KB) and operating plan. (pdf 146.26 KB)

To apply for a variation to a premises licence, simply submit a written request explaining the variation and reasons for the variation. If the variation includes any change to the layout plan, you would be required to forward 6 sets of layout plans detailing the change. 

Apply to transfer your premises licence (pdf 134.65 KB)

Apply to substitute a Designated Premises Manager (pdf 48.39 KB)

Failed Application Redress           
Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

Appeals against the refusal of an application must be made to the sheriff principal of the sheriffdom where the principal office of the Licensing Board is located.

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

Licence Holder Redress    
Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

Consumer Complaint         
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Consumer Service will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Any person may apply to the Licensing Board for a review of the licence. Grounds for review are that one or more of the conditions have been breached or for any other ground relevant to the licensing objectives. A hearing must be held in relation to the application.

Other Redress         
If felt necessary a chief constable can recommend that the application is refused on the grounds that any criminal conviction could be cause to refuse the application for the purposes of crime prevention objectives. This must be served by way of a notice with 21 days of receiving notice from the Licensing Authority. A chief constable can only object if they suspect that the applicant or any connected person may be involved in serious organised crime.

Any person may object to an application or make representations in support of an application, modifications to application or conditions to be added to a licence, by way of a notice to the Licensing Board.

Any person may apply to the Licensing Board for a review of the licence. Grounds for review are that one or more of the conditions have been breached or for any other ground relevant to the licensing objectives. A hearing must be held in relation to the application.