When do you need a licence?

The Licensing Act 2003 requires the following activities to be licensed by the local council:

Regulated Entertainmentwhich is defined as the performance of a play, exhibition of a film, indoor sporting event, boxing or wrestling entertainments, performance of live music, playing of recorded music, performance of dance or entertainment of a similar description and the provision of entertainment facilities.  Recent changes to the law have relaxed the requirements for most activities, provided that they only take place between the hours of 8am and 11pm, with an audience of no more than 500.  However, as the rules are somewhat complex, you should check with your Council’s Licensing team, as to exactly what you might need for your event.
Retail Sale of Alcohol
Late Night Refreshment which is defined as the sale of hot food and hot drink between the hours of 11pm and 5am.

How long does it take?

Obtaining a premises license/club premises certificate can sometimes be a lengthy process and you should speak to your local council’s Licensing team for advice. It is recommended that you allow at least two months between serving an application and your first licensable event.

Temporary Event Notices

In the event that you do not wish to have a premises license or club premises certificate in force at the premises or have not allowed yourself the time to apply for one, you may serve the Licensing and Police Authority a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). A TEN allows a person to give notice of a one-off event at premises where licensable activities (see above) may take place. Please note that a TEN may only be applied for when fewer than 500 people are attending (including any staff and performers).

To be accepted, a notice must:

be given in the prescribed form.
be given to the District Council at least 10 working days prior to the event taking place (Bank Holidays are not working days) excluding the day of serving the notice and the day of the event.  Subject to very limited conditions a TEN may be served up to 5 days prior to an event, check with the licensing team of your local authority.
Allow a minimum of 24 hours to elapse between temporary events in the same premises

Up to 12 TENs may be served in connection with the same premises, although the aggregate of days must not exceed 21 per calendar year.

A person who does not hold a personal licence may serve up to 5 TENs, after this allowance has been used, it must pass on to another responsible adult (a person serving notice must be at least 18 years of age) to serve the notice.

How to Apply

Contact your local District Council for more information. All notices must be sent in duplicate to the Licensing Officer with a cheque. A further copy of the notice must be served on the Police Authority (on the same day) at the following address:

Chief of Police (Licensing), Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Parkside Police Station, Cambridge, CB1 1JG

If you have booked a venue to hold a licensable event it is advisable to check with the person you are booking with if a licence is already in force or whether you will be required to serve a TEN. Under current legislation, the provision of any entertainment or entertainment facilities at a place of public religious worship is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment. The requirement for a license is subject to further exemptions. If you are unsure whether you require a license, please contact the licensing team. Please be advised that charitable events may still require a licence. It is important to remember that where alcohol is sold, the requirement for a licence will always exist.

When contacting the Licensing Team, you will need to be clear on all of the details of the event to gain the best advice.

Large Events

If you are intending to hold a large event, you should check the legal obligations with regard to:

Public Liability Insurance
Risk Assessments
Permission with regard to any proposed road closures

These subjects should be discussed by prior arrangement with the local Safety Advisory Group (SAG), where a number of authorities will meet with you and help to resolve any matters.  In general, it is suggested that you make initial contact with the SAG, at least 6 months in advance.  The SAG will want to meet with you and to see documentation about your plans, including risk assessments and, where you have one, the Management Control Document.

Fireworks and Bonfires

If your event includes fireworks/a bonfire, please contact the Trading Standards Agency correctly. See www.tradingstandards.gov.uk for more information.

Further Information

For information regarding noise pollution and food hygiene, please contact your Environmental Health Department at your District Council. For more information, read the Event Safety Guide, a guide to health, safety and welfare at music and other events, published by the Health and Safety Executive. ISBN 0-7176-2453-6.  Alternatively, see The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s website for general information on licensing www.dcms.gov.uk/what_we_do/alcohol_and_entertainment/default.aspx.

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