Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

In April 2000, the Government issued a consultation paper that outlined proposals for the modernisation of the licensing laws.

The Licensing Bill was subsequently introduced in Parliament on 14 November 2003 and on 10 July 2003 the Bill received Royal Assent and became the Licensing Act 2003 (“the Act”).   The Act came fully into force on 24 November 2005.

This new legislation creates a single integrated scheme for the licensing of premises which are used for:

  • The supply of alcohol
  • Providing regulated entertainment
  • Providing late night refreshment

The City Council, as Licensing Authority, is responsible for administering the new licensing laws.

The Licensing Authority is required to prepare and publish a statement of licensing policy every five years in accordance with Section 5 of the Act.  This policy must be published before the authority can carry out any of its functions in terms of determining individual applications.  During the five year period the policy must be kept under review and revisions made as and when appropriate.

When determining applications, the licensing authority must have regard to its policy together with the statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State. 

They include:

  • Flexible opening hours for premises, with the potential for up to 24 hour opening, seven days a week, subject to any representations that may be received and the impact upon the licensing objectives.
  • A single premises licence (or club premises certificate) which can permit premises to be used to supply alcohol, to provide regulated entertainment and to provide late night refreshment.
  • A new system of personal licences relating to sale of alcohol which will allow holders of the licence to move more freely between premises where a licence is in force.
  • Premises licences to be issued by licensing authorities (the Local Authority) subject to notifying responsible authorities and having regard to representations received.
  • Local communities to have a say in licensing decisions that affect them, as well as ensuring that authorities such as the police, fire authority, trading standards and environmental health officers are able to comment upon applications made and also to take action if problems occur.

Licensing Authorities must perform their duties according to the four licensing objectives contained in the Act (Section 4).  Similarly representations can be made by responsible authorities or other persons if they consider that the grant or variation of a licence in respect of a particular premises would undermine the licensing objectives.  These are:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder
  • Public safety
  • The protection of children from harm
  • The prevention of public nuisance

Note: The licensing objectives are of equal importance

When an application is made for a new licence or when a licence holder wants to vary their existing one (i.e. to provide additional licensable activities or to extend their hours) the Act requires an applicant to advertise the application in two ways which are:

By placing a notice in a local newspaper

  • The newspaper circulation must be within the area where the premises are located;
  • The notice must appear in the paper within 10 days following the time when the application was made to the Licensing Authority.

By displaying a notice at the premises concerned

  • On A4 (or larger), pale blue paper;
  • Printed clearly in black ink or typed in a font size of at least 16;
  • Placed prominently on the premises where it can be conveniently read from the exterior of the premises;
  • In respect of certain applications only, placed every 50 metres on the external perimeter of the premises abutting any highway.

On-Line notice of applications received by the Licensing Authority

A summary of all new applications received for the grant or variation of licences will be published weekly on our website.  Please click here to access the list of licensing applications received.

Licensing Register

A copy of the statutory register, which contains the full details of the application, may be inspected during normal office hours at the office of the Licensing Section, Legal and Democratic Services, Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL.

Licensing staff are currently developing the register so that in the future, full access to the statutory register will be available on-line.  However, for the time being this information is only accessible via inspection at the Civic Offices.

The Act provides a time period of 28 consecutive days from when the Licensing Authority received the application for representations to be made in writing by responsible authorities or other persons.

Under the Licensing Act 2003 a responsible authority or any other person may make representations about an application. Representations may be in the nature of an objection to or in support of an application.

Changes to the Licensing Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”) by virtue of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (“the 2011 Act”) have now removed the test of “vicinity” from the 2003 Act and as a consequence, the categories of “interested party” or “member of the relevant licensing authority” no longer exist.

Therefore, any person will be able to make representations in relation to certain types of applications. However, all representations must relate to the licensing objectives and may not be frivolous or vexatious.

The responsible authorities are:

  • The Chief Officer of Police;
  • The Fire Authority;
  • The local enforcement agency for the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (either the local authority in some cases or Health and Safety Executive for others);
  • Environmental Health;
  • Trading Standards;
  • The Planning Authority;
  • Social Services;
  • The Licensing Authority; and
  • The Primary Care Trust.

Note: In relation to a vessel only, responsible authorities will include navigation authorities within the meaning of Section 221(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 which are:

  • The Environmental Agency, the British Waterways Board, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Any representations made in respect of applications must be relevant to the four licensing objectives mentioned previously.  If you think that the grant or variation of a licence would undermine any of the licensing objectives you can make representations to that effect.  However, it is important that any representations clearly show the likely causal effects should a licence be granted and should be directly linked to the premises concerned.  A person should present evidence to support the representations being made as the Licensing Authority will need to be satisfied that there is an evidential and causal link between the representations made, and the effect on the licensing objectives.

Representations may not be considered as relevant by the licensing authority if they are deemed to be frivolous or vexatious.

All representations must be made in writing by post, email or fax and sent to the following address:

The Licensing Manager
Licensing Section
Legal, Licensing and Registrars
Portsmouth City Council
Civic Offices
Guildhall Square

Tel: 023 9283 4607 or 9268 8367  Fax:  023 9283 4811

Please note that where a person wishes to submit a representation by email or fax, the regulations made in accordance with Act require that a hard copy is also forwarded to the Licensing Authority immediately afterwards.

If you want to ask another person, such as your ward councillor or local MP to represent you then it is advisable for you to make such a request in writing to them so that they may be able to demonstrate that he or she was asked.  It will be a decision for the councillor or MP as to whether they wish to make such representations on your behalf.  However, councillors who are part of the Licensing Committee who will be considering the application will not be able to enter into discussions with you about the application, outside of the formal hearing itself, so it would not be appropriate for persons who wish to make representations to contact them about the application. 

If the Licensing Authority considers that your representation is relevant in terms of the legislation then a hearing must be held in order that the Licensing Committee can consider the application having regard to the representations that have been received.  This is unless all parties agree that a hearing is unnecessary, for example if matters are resolved between the parties concerned by way of a negotiated agreement.

The Licensing Authority will formally notify you of the time, date and venue of the hearing and will send further information in respect of how the meeting will be conducted.

Download a copy of the document "Welcome to the Licensing Committee – Licensing Act 2003" below for further information as to how hearings are conducted and the role of other persons in these proceedings.

If you would like to speak to an officer directly about an application, please telephone the Licensing Section on: 023 9268 8367 or 023 9283 4607.

Alternatively, further information can be obtained from