The Licensing Act 2003 came into force on 24 November 2005.
No premises may sell alcohol or late night refreshment (hot food between 11pm and 5am), or provide regulated activities until the council has granted a premises licence.
Regulated activities are defined as:
- Performance of a play
- Exhibition of a film
- An indoor sporting event
- Boxing or wrestling entertainment
- Live music
- Recorded music
- Performance of dance
- Entertainment of a similar description to that falling within the performance of live music, the playing of recorded music and performance of dance
In addition, where alcohol sales take place, at least one person working at the premises must hold a personal licence and that person should be the named "Designated Premises Supervisor" (DPS). All alcohol sales must be made under his or her authority.
An application for a Premises Licence must be advertised in a local newspaper that circulates in the area where the premises is located - see instructions for completing licensing applications for further details. Failure to advertise correctly will result in the application being rejected.
Council officers will be conducting checks to ensure that all premises selling alcohol or providing regulated entertainment or hot food after 11pm are licensed. If any unlicensed premises are found then appropriate action will be taken against them.
Any person who has not yet applied for a personal licence must pass a course for a relevant licensing qualification and submit that certificate with their new application for a Personal Licence to our Licensing Section.
The Licensing Act prescribes the timescales that the applicant, council and objectors must comply with. There is absolutely no discretion contained within the Act for any party to vary from these times and any representation received outside of the statutory consultation period will be rejected.
Off licences, pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and take-aways
Two licences are now required:
- Premises licence for the premises where alcohol is to be sold
- Personal licence for the person(s) who will be actually selling alcohol
Please note that there may be more than one Personal Licence holder working at particular premises. This situation will arise in the case of a nightclub, restaurant or large public house. In all cases of premises providing alcohol through sales (as opposed to supply), one person must be nominated by the licence holder as the DPS; this person will be in overall charge of the premises and be responsible for authorising all sales of alcohol.
For certain types of licensing application, The Licensing Act 2003 and The Gambling Act 2005 require applicants to send copies of that application to various public bodies (known as 'Responsible Authorities').
Names and addresses of the Responsible Authorities
Premises licence registers, pending applications and premises licences under review
You can view our register of licensed premises and any current applications/reviews in the premises licences - registers and pending applications section.
The Licensing Act requires that the Licensing Section determine whether the application is correct from an administrative point of view.
If so, then the timescales commence.
It will then be for the Licensing Sub-Committee to determine any application where representations that cannot be resolved have been received within the statutory consultation period and this will include whether or not it has been advertised in accordance with the Act.
The Licensing Sub-Committee will also consider valid representations when deciding whether to grant or reject an application or demand additional licence conditions.
Licensing Sub-Committee Hearings
Where a Premises Licence has been granted and "an interested party" or "responsible authority" is of the opinion that the premises are not being operated in accordance with the conditions under which the premises licence was granted, they may ask the council to call that licence in for a review.
Guidance for Interested parties: Applying for a Review
Role of Magistrates' court
The Magistrates Court no longer deals with any Liquor Licensing matter. All applications for Liquor Licences must now be made our Licensing Section.
This particularly affects those persons who in the past applied for "occasional permissions" from the Court to sell alcohol. This is now done through Temporary Event Notices (TENs).
Changes to The Licensing Act
Information on recent changes to the Licensing Act 2003 can be found on the Home Office website:
and the DCMS website:
London Borough of Merton
1st Floor Annexe
Merton Civic Centre
Telephone: 020 8545 3969