Premises licence

The sale by retail of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshments requires a premises licence.

A licence is required for the following premises:

  • Pubs and night-clubs
  • Off licences and shops selling alcohol
  • Restaurants serving alcohol
  • Businesses selling hot food and drinks from 23:00 hours (11pm) to 05:00 hours (5am)
  • Hotels, guest houses and other places that sell alcohol
  • Theatres and amateur dramatic clubs
  • Cinemas
  • Venues with indoor sporting events
  • Temporary entertainment of music or dancing or where alcohol is sold.

Charities, a proprietor of educational establishments, health service bodies and a chief officer of police can also apply for a premises licence.

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Eligibility Criteria

Any of the following may apply for a premises licence:

  • anyone who carries on a business in the premises to which the application relates
  • 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.

You can read a summary of the regulation relating to this licence.

Application process

Apply online for a premises licence through GOV.UK (See note below).


When making an application on GOV.UK, please ensure that the payment status is "paid". If no payment has been authorised, this may lead to your application being rejected. If you are in any doubt please contact the Licensing Team on our hotline 020 7364 5000.

From 1 January 2018 Licences if you are granted a licence to permit the sale/supply of alcohol between 12am, midnight and 6am on any day you will be liable to pay the Late Night Levy charge.

The charge must be paid 14 days after the grant of your licence, unless you fall within one of the exemption categories. Non-payment of the levy can result in suspension of your licence, as per sections 55A and 92A of the Licensing Act 2003, as amended and section 229(6) of the Police and Social Responsibility Act 2011.

What fee do I pay?

You need to know the business rate for your premises, otherwise you cannot calculate the correct fee. Contact your local office on 020 7441 7000 for help with this.

See an explanation of the fees regime and worked examples: Appendix 1

Online payments can be made on the payment page.

You can a make payment by telephone on 020 7364 5000.

What information do I need to put on the application form?

  • Complete the premises licence application form
  • Don’t forget to fill in the operating schedule-make clear licensable activities and any limitations.
  • Detail how you will ensure compliance with the four licensing objectives. All the responsible authorities will look at this and you should discuss any problems with them before you make an application
  • You must nominate a premises supervisor if you are selling alcohol. This person must hold a personal licence by the time that you want to supply alcohol on the second appointed day. They must sign a DPS licensing consent form
  • Don’t forget to (all) sign the application form where required

You are also normally expected to have planning permission for your proposal, so we suggest you speak to our planning colleagues if you are at all unsure on this point on 020 7364 5000.

Where do I send the application forms?

To the Licensing Authority and all Responsible authorities

Is there any other information I must send with the forms?

For the licensing authority you must enclose the correct fee. Cheques to be made payable to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. See appendix one for information on the correct fee.

For both  the licensing authority and all the responsible authorities you need to send a plan of the premises. Plans, for written and electronic applications, will not be required to be submitted in any particular scale, but they must be in a format which is “clear and legible in all material respects”, i.e. they must be accessible and provides sufficient detail for the licensing authority to be able to determine the application, including the relative size of any features relevant to the application. There is no requirement for plans to be professionally drawn as long as they clearly show all the prescribed information. We would request the scale of 1:100.

The plan must show the following:

  • the extent of the boundary of the building
  • external and internal walls of the building if relevant
  • if different from above, the perimeter of the premises
  • the positions of access to and egress from the premises including escape routes
  • if the premises is used for more than one existing licensable activity, the area within the premises used for each activity
  • in a case where an existing licensable activity relates to the supply of alcohol, the location or locations on the premises used for each activity
  • fixed structures (including furniture) or similar objects temporarily in a fixed location (but not furniture) which may impact on the ability of individuals on the premises to use exits or escape routes without impediment
  • where a stage or raised area exists, the location of the steps,stairs, elevator or lifts
  • in a case where the premises includes any room or rooms containing public conveniences, the location of the room(s)
  • the location and type of any fire safety and any other safety equipment
  • the location of a kitchen, if any, on the premises
  • the plan may include a legend through which the matters mentioned or referred to above are sufficiently illustrated by the use of symbols on the plan

Do I need to do anything else apart from completing the form?

Yes, you must advertise the application. You need to display a notice for not less than 28 consecutive days, starting on the day after the application was given to the licensing authority. You must also publish a notice on at least one occasion in a local newspaper, during the period of ten working days starting on the day after the application was given to the relevant licensing authority. The newspaper advert can be any size or colour but must be readable. Please be advised that if your application has errors then this can lead to having to readvertise both on the notice and the newspaper. 

The notice must be prominently displayed at the premises to which it relates, where it can be conveniently read from the exterior of the premises. In the case of a premises that cover an area of more than 50 metres square, a further similar notice must be displayed every 50 metres along the external premises abuttingany highway.

You must produce your notice comprising of the following: (to assist you this example premises licence notice can be used. Please note that it must be printed on pale blue paper).

  • equal  to or larger than A4
  • pale blue in colour
  • printed legibly in black ink or typed in black in a font of a size at least equal to size16
  • Briefly describe the proposed application / variation - e.g. the sale of alcohol, and/or regulated entertainment and/or late night refreshment, with hours specified, that is, Monday to Sunday from11am to 11pm. If there are non-standard hours, such as Bank Holidays, then this should be briefly mentioned. The hours the premises are open to the public are not required to be shown. Where the variation is not for the hours then briefly explain what the variation is for. If you are removing an existing licence condition then briefly describe the condition.
  • the name of the applicant 
  • the postal address of the premises
  • our address, where the register is kept and when the record of the application can be viewed from , Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm at:

Licensing Team
Environmental Health & Trading Standards, 
Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

  • the date by which an interested party or responsible authority may make representations to the relevant licensing authority
  • that representations shall be made in writing; and
  • that it is an offence knowingly or recklessly to make a false statement in connection with an application and the maximum fine for which a person is liable on summary conviction for the offence.

We will reject any public notice that states an old address (for example Mulberry Place) for the Licensing Authority.

Once the consultation period for your application has ended you need take down and correctly dispose of all public notices relating to it.

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Evaluation process

The licensing authority must grant the application, which can be subject to conditions. A hearing must be held if any representations are made in respect of the application. If a hearing is held the licence can be granted or granted subject to additional conditions, licensable activities listed in the application can be excluded or the application can be rejected.

The licensing authority will serve a notice of its decision on the applicant, any person who has made relevant representations (i.e. representations that were not deemed frivolous or vexatious) and the chief of police.

Applications can also be made to vary or transfer a licence. Again, a hearing may have to be heard if representations are made.

We must approve your application before the licence is granted.

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Premises variation

The procedure to vary the premises licence is the same as a new premises licence, however the forms are different:

If you are applying to reduce your hours so that they do not fall within the levied hours detailed by this borough’s late night levy (12am to 6am), the standard application fee for the minor variation still applies

Where you want to substantially vary the physical premises, you should apply for a new premises licence. Please note that the procedures for a minor variation are different.

Apply online for a variation of a premises licence through GOV.UK (See notes above regarding fees).

There is a separate application to vary a premises licence to specify the designated premises supervisor.

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Transfer a premises licence

Download the application forms:

The fee is £23.

Online payments can be made on the payments page.

You can a make payment by telephone on 020 7364 5000.

A transfer can only take place if the licence is still active. If the previous licence holder has become insolvent or dissolved, please check when this occurred. On most occasions the licence can only be transferred within 28 days of either;


  • the approval of a voluntary arrangement proposed by him,
  • being adjudged bankrupt or having his estate sequestrated, or
  • entering into a deed of arrangement made for the benefit of his creditors or a trust deed for his creditors.


  • the approval of a voluntary arrangement proposed by its directors,
  • the appointment of an administrator in respect of the company,
  • the appointment of an administrative receiver in respect of the company, or
  • going into liquidation.

What information do I need to include with the application form?

  • The consent form signed by the existing premises licence holder or a statement as to why it is not enclosed
  • The premises licence, or the relevant part of it or an explanation

Where do I send copies of the forms?

To the Chief Officer of the Police and the Home Office Immigration Enforcement - see Appendix two for their contact details.

Complaints and appeals

See the main page for information on how to appeal or complain.

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