Skip to content
  1. Do it online
  2. Login
  3. Have your say
  4. My Durham

Apply for a premises licence

You need to obtain a premises licence from us if you want to sell alcohol, provide regulated entertainment or supply late night refreshment at any premises in County Durham.

Alternatively, if you are a qualifying club, you will need a club premises certificate.

The requirement for this licence comes from Licensing Act 2003, under which we act as the Licensing Authority for premises located in County Durham.

Regulated entertainment

'Regulated entertainment' is considered to be:

  • a performance of a play
  • an exhibition of a film
  • an indoor sporting event
  • boxing or wrestling entertainment
  • a performance of live music
  • any playing of recorded music
  • a performance of dance
  • entertainment of a similar description falling within the last three categories (but only where the entertainment takes place in the presence of and for the purposes of entertaining that audience or spectators) 

Late night refreshment

'Late night refreshment' means the supply of hot food or hot drink to members of the public (whether for consumption on or off the premises) between the hours of 11.00pm and 5.00am.

Eligibility criteria

Any of the following may apply for a premises licence:

  • anyone who uses or carries on a business in the premises to which the application relates to 
  • a recognised club
  • a charity
  • a health service body
  • a person who is registered under the Care Standards Act 2000 in relation to an independent hospital
  • a chief police officer of a force in England and Wales
  • anyone discharging a statutory or function under Her Majesty's prerogative
  • a person from an educational institute
  • any other permitted person.

Applicants must not be under 18 years of age.

Application evaluation process

We will only be able to deal with applications relating to premises located within County Durham.

Applications must be correctly completed and include information as to the operating schedule, plan of the premises and a form of consent from the premises supervisor (for applications where the sale of alcohol will be a licensable activity).

An operating schedule should include details of:

  • the licensable activities
  • the times when the activities will take place and any other times when the premises will be open to the public
  • information regarding the person who will be specified in the Premises Licence as the Designated Premises Supervisor.
  • whether the supply of any alcohol is for consumption on or off the premises (or both)
  • the steps proposed to be taken to promote the licensing objectives
  • the layout of the local area and physical environment including crime and disorder hotspots, proximity to residential premises and proximity to areas where children may congregate
  • any risk posed to the local area by the applicants' proposed licensable activities
  • any local initiatives (for example, local crime reduction initiatives or voluntary schemes including local taxi marshalling schemes, street pastors and other schemes) which may help to mitigate potential risks.

When submitting your application to us, you must ensure that you take the following steps for it to progress:

  • Advertise your application by displaying a public notice at the premises for 28 consecutive days (starting with the day after you submit your application to us).
  • Place an advert in a local newspaper (at least once during the ten working days after you submit your application to us).
  • Submit a copy of the application and required documents to all responsible authorities. Download Icon for pdf List of responsible authorities (PDF, 143.3kb)  for contact details for the responsible authorities:

Other people and responsible authorities then have 20 working days in which to make representations about the application to us (as the licensing authority). Our Reviewing and making representations about a club or premises page has more information about other people and responsible authorities who can can make representations in connection with a premises licence application

Where no representations are made, we must grant the application, but conditions can be attached.

If relevant representations are made (in other words, they are not deemed to be frivolous or vexatious), it will be necessary to hold a hearing. This hearing must be held within 20 working days of the end of the representation period. The premise licence may then be granted - subject to conditions - or the application may be rejected. Licensable activities listed in the application could also be excluded.

We will serve a notice of our decision to the following within five working days of the hearing:

  • the applicant
  • any person who has made relevant representations
  • any responsible authority who has made relevant representations

Local newspaper

You must place the notice in a local newspaper. The notice must be published at least once in the period of ten working days, starting the day after a complete application has been submitted to us. We will notify you whether your application has been accepted as complete and we would advise you not to place the notice in a newspaper until you have received this confirmation. You will receive this confirmation by email and we will inform you of the date any representations should be submitted by, which you will need to include in the notice.

Display notice of application on the premises

You must display a notice on the premises for a period of no less than 28 consecutive days starting on the day after the day which the application was submitted to us. Once you have submitted your application, we will notify you by email whether your application has been accepted as complete and we will inform you of the date any representations should be submitted by, which you will need to include in the notice.

This notice must be: 

  • A4 size or larger
  • pale blue in colour
  • printed or typed in black, in a font size of at least 16
  • on display at the premises where it can be conveniently viewed from the exterior of  the premises
  • displayed every fifty metres along the external perimeter of the premises for larger premises

Matters arising with existing licences

Applications can also be made to vary or transfer a licence. As per the above, a hearing will take place if any relevant representations are made or conditions relating to a transfer are not met.

All other matters arising during the life of a premises licence that are controlled by the Licensing Act 2003, can be dealt with online. Please see the 'Apply online' section below for details.

Applicable fees has a list of premises licence fees included in their alcohol licensing fee levels. Premises licence fees are statutory and are payable annually.

Implied granting of licence ('tacit consent')

If you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period we specify for dealing with your application, you have the legal right to act as though as though your licence has been granted. This is known as 'tacit consent'. This does not apply to minor variation applications.

Our target completion period for processing a correctly completed application is 90 working days. We aim to acknowledge your application within 5 working days of receipt. Please contact us using the details below if you have not received acknowledgement within 10 working days.

Apply online

Applicant redress

If an application for a licence is refused, the failed applicant can appeal to a Magistrates' court within 21 days of notice of the decision. An applicant also has the right to appeal to the Magistrates' court within the same time frame against any conditions attached to a licence, a decision to reject a variation application, a decision to reject a transfer application or a decision to exclude an activity or person as designated premises supervisor.

Other persons/responsible authority redress

Other people and responsible authorities can can make representations in connection with a premises licence application, or apply for a review of an existing premises licence. Where this happens, a hearing will be held by the licensing authority within 90 working days of receipt of the application.

Our decision as a licensing authority will be communicated in writing within 5 working days of the hearing. Any appeals against this decision must be made to the Magistrates' court within 21 days of notice.

Consumer complaint

Contact us if you have any complaints concerning an existing premises licence.

EUGO logo

In partnership with

  • EUGO
Contact us
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Print this page