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To authorise the supply of alcohol and regulated entertainment in a qualifying club you need a club premises certificate from Portsmouth City Council.

In a qualifying club there is technically no sale by retail of alcohol (except to guests), as the member owns part of the alcohol stock and the money passing across the bar is merely a mechanism to preserve equity between members where one may consume more than another.

In order to constitute a qualifying club you must also satisfy the various requirements set out in the Licensing Act 2003.

Clubs must be qualifying clubs. A qualifying club has general conditions it must satisfy. These are: 

  • a person may not be given memberships or as a candidate for membership to any membership privileges without an interval of at least two days from their membership application or nomination and their membership being granted 
  • that club rules state that those becoming member without nomination or application cannot have membership privileges for at least two days between them becoming members and being admitted to the club
  • that the club is established and conducted in good faith
  • that the club has at least 25 members 
  • that alcohol is only supplied to members on the premises on behalf or by the club
  • additional conditions in relation to the supply of alcohol must be complied with.

These conditions are that:

  • alcohol purchased for and supplied by the club is done by members of club who are over 18 years of age and are elected to do so by the members
  • no person at the expense of the club receives any commission, percentage or other similar payment in regard to the purchase of alcohol by the club
  • there are no arrangements for anyone to receive a financial benefit from supplying alcohol, apart from any benefit to the club or to any person indirectly from the supply giving a gain from running the club

Registered industrial and provident societies and friendly societies will qualify if the alcohol is purchased for and supplied by the club is done under the control of the members or a committee of members.

Relevant miners' welfare institutes can also be considered. A relevant institute is one that is managed by a committee or board that consists of at least two thirds of people appointed or elevated by one or more licensed operators under the Coal Industry Act 1994 and by one or more organisations who represent coal mine employees.

The institute can be managed by the committee or board where the board cannot be made up as detailed above but is made up of at least two thirds of members who were employed or are employed in or around coal mines and also by people who were appointed by the Coal Industry Welfare Organisation or by a body who had similar functions under the Miners' Welfare Act 1952. In any case the premises of the institute must be held on a trust as required under the Recreational Charities Act 1958. 

The powers to regulate and issue licences is contained in the Licensing Act 2003 (external link to the National Archives website).
Please have regard to Portsmouth's Statement of Licensing Policy and the Statutory Guidance issued in accordance with Section 182 of the Act. 

A club can apply for a club premises certificate for any premises which are occupied and used regularly for club purposes.

Applications should be made to the local licensing authority, which is the local authority where the premises are situated.

Applications should be submitted with a plan of the premises which must be in a specific format, a copy of the rules of the club and a club operating schedule.

What is a club operating schedule?

A club operating schedule is a document in a specific format which includes information on:

  • the activities of the club
  • the times the activities are to take place
  • other opening times
  • if alcohol supplies are for consumption on or off the premises or both, the steps that the club propose to take to promote the licensing objectives 
  • any other information that is required.

If there any alterations to the rules or name of the club before an application is determined or after a certificate is issued, the club secretary must give details to the local licensing authority.

If a certificate is in place, this must be sent to the licensing authority when they are notified.

If a certificate is in place and the registered address of the club changes, the club must give notice to the local licensing authority of the change and provide the certificate with the notice.

A club may apply to a local licensing authority to vary a certificate. The certificate should accompany the application.

The local licensing authority may inspect the premises before an application is considered.

Fees may be payable for any type of application relating to a club premises certificate. 

Yes, it will apply to a new or full variation. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period which is a maximum of 56 days.

If you are applying for a minor variation, tacit authorisation will not apply as it is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. 

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us on 023 9283 4607, or email

Apply online (external links will open in a new window)

You can also apply by downloading from the documents section below and sending your application together with any required supporting documents to Licensing.

For more information, email, call 023 9283 4607, or write to Portsmouth City Council Licensing, Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL. 

Please email the local authority on or call 023 9283 4607. 

A failed applicant will receive notice of the refusal of an application for a certificate or variation of a certificate from the local licensing authority.

If an application is rejected, the applicant may appeal the decision.

Appeals must be made to the local Magistrates' court within 21 days of the decision appealed. 

Please email the local authority on or call 023 9283 4607.

If a local licensing authority refuses an application for a variation the licence holder may appeal the decision. A licence holder can appeal against a decision to put conditions on a certificate or to exclude any club activity. Appeals may also be made against the variation of any condition.

Appeals against the decision of a review can be made.

A club may appeal against the withdrawing of a certificate.

Appeals must be made to the local Magistrates' court within 21 days of the decision appealed. 

In the event of a complaint, we suggest you make the first contact with the trader - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery).  If that does not worked, if you are located in the UK, Adviceguide (external link) will give you advice. From outside the UK, contact the UK European Consumer Centre (external link).

A club member may request a review of the certificate. The local licensing authority will give reasons for their response to the application in a notice.

Appeals against the decision of a review can be made. Appeals must be made to the local Magistrates' court within 21 days of the decision appealed. 

For more information, email or call 023 9283 4607.

Any person may make representations to the local licensing authority before the certificate is granted or before amendments to a certificate are granted. If representations are made a hearing will be held to consider the application and the representations. Notices will be made by the local licensing authority detailing the reasons for any outcome. Any persons who made representations will receive notice of a failed application.

A person may request a review of the club premises certificate. The local licensing authority will give reasons for their response to the application in a notice.

A person may appeal if they argue that a certificate should not have been granted or that different or additional conditions or limitations on activities should have been made. They may also appeal against any variation of a condition.

Appeals against the decision of a review can be made. Appeals must be made to the local Magistrates' court within 21 days of the decision appealed.

More information about club premises certificates


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