Go to navigation

Premises Licence

Any premises or land that holds licensable activities on a regular basis to the public must apply for a Premises Licence.   If you only hold limited activities you maybe able to apply for a Temporary Event Notice.

A Premises Licence is granted for the life of the premises, until it changes its use or is revoked.

Licensable Activities for a Premises Licence

Who can apply?

Any of the following may apply:

  • Anyone who carries on a business in the premises to which the application relates (individual, partnership, freeholder, leaseholder or holding company);
  • 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;
  • Any discharging a statutory or function under Her Majesty’s prerogative;
  • A person from an educational institute;
  • Any other permitted person;

Applicants must be over the age of 18 years old.

Making an application

Apply for a new premises licence.

Apply for a variation of an existing premises licence.

Apply for a minor variation of an existing premises licence.


All applications are based on the four licensing objectives:

  • the prevention of crime and disorder;
  • public safety;
  • the prevention of public nuisance;
  • the protection of children from harm.

What is defined as Premises and Land

Please make sure that the premises, land, temporary structure, vessel, vehicles, train or aircraft have the necessary permission to be used as licensed premises.

Planning issues

The use of any licensed places or premises is subject to planning controls. There are several key differences between licensing and planning control.

Licensing is concerned with the fitness of the operator and detailed issues concerning the operation and management of the premises that are not addressed by the planning process, which relates to the use of the premises.

It will be expected in general that the grant or variation of planning permission would be resolved before a licence application is made.  The licensing committee may refuse to grant a licence following representations from the local planning authority if the:

  • Activity sought to be licensed would amount to an unlawful use of the premises
  • Hours being sought exceed those authorised by any planning permission

It will be for the applicant to demonstrate any special circumstances to justify a departure from this policy in the face of representations from the local planning authority.


Despite the fact that more than one licence may be granted for a parcel of land or that a temporary event notice may be served for land, most operators of licensable activities are expected to abide by the law of trespass and will not seek to use public land without prior permission.

If the land is owned by Medway Council you will need to seek written permission prior to applying for a licence as the location may already be licensed.  If the land is owned for example a farmer then you will need to seek written permission to use the site for licensable activities.

Open land, temporary structures (marquees) and streets form part of land.  You must clearly state the location of where you wish licensable activities are to take place for example road names, the field between the roads City Way and New Road, the size of the area you wish to use for licensable activities for example you may have a 3 acre field but only wish to use a small area in the top right of the field you will need to explain the exact locations (from the river to the public walkway).

Temporary Structures

You can licence a temporary structure but the plan must show the exact location of where the structure will be positioned and the size of the structure. 

Temporary structures may include marquees, beer tents and mobile bars.

Internet and mail order sales

In considering applications for a Premises Licence involving internet or mail order sales, the place from which the alcohol is sent will require the licence: that is, the location of the stock. This means, for example, that a call centre would not be the premises to be licensed, but the warehouse from which alcohol is sent.


Where a Premises Licence is sought in connection with a boat or ship, the primary focus will be on the licensable activities and not the safe navigation of the vessel. This is covered under separate legislation. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be consulted on all applications.


Where a Premises Licence is sought in connection with the sale of alcohol from a vehicle that is parked or stationary, such as a mobile bar providing alcohol or hot refreshment, the application will be considered in relation to the place where the sales are to take place.

Trains and aircraft

Railway vehicles and aircraft on journeys are exempt from the licensing regime. However, defunct aircraft and railway carriages used or converted as restaurants and bars that remain in a fixed position will require a Premises Licence.

Licensing information

Please note that the information above is not legal advice. Legislation and procedures may change over time and the advice given is based on the information available at the current time. It is not necessarily comprehensive and will be subject to revision in the event of further government guidance and regulations. This advice is not intended to be a definitive guide to or substitute for the relevant law.

The council is happy to provide information but cannot give advice on individual applications. Please seek legal and professional advice.


For more information contact Licensing Unit by telephone: Licensing Services - 01634 337107 or 337108 / Enforcement - 01634 337112 or 337106 or by email: licensing@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Licensing Unit, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR