If community premises and village hall committees want to make the premises available for the sale or supply of alcohol or the provision of regulated entertainment as defined under the Licensing Act 2003 they will need to ensure it is correctly licensed.

Choices for community halls

Committees need to look at the events and facilities that they wish to offer and decide what type of licence they will need to apply for. The options include:

  • a premises licence
  • temporary event notices (TENS)

These options are explained below in more detail.

What do I need permission for?

You need to obtain permission for the following activities:

  • to sell alcohol by retail
  • to provide regulated entertainment
  • to sell late night refreshment

What is regulated entertainment?

The following kinds of entertainment are subject to regulation:

  1. Plays
  2. Film exhibitions
  3. Indoor sporting events
  4. Boxing or wrestling exhibitions
  5. Live music (karaoke included)
  6. Recorded music
  7. Dancing by performers
  8. Any entertainment similar to that described in 5, 6 or 7 above.

A licence is needed for any entertainment provided

  • for purposes which include entertaining an audience
  • for members of the public or a section of the public
  • exclusively for members of a qualifying social club or members and their guests
  • for a charge and with a view to profit

When do I not require permission for regulated entertainment?

  • For performances of live unamplified music between 8am and 11pm
  • For performances of amplified music between 8am and 11pm on premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises
  • Films which are solely or mainly to demonstrate a product, advertise goods or services, or provide information, education or instruction
  • TV and radio broadcasts, providing they are shown live and not recorded
  • Religious meetings or services
  • Entertainment in places of public religious worship
  • Garden fêtes (unless held for private gain)
  • Morris dancing
  • Incidental entertainment

What does incidental entertainment mean?

Consent for regulated entertainment is not needed when the entertainment is provided for background entertainment. This is sometimes a difficult area and if you are unsure you should contact us for advice. Examples of incidental entertainment are:

  • music during keep fit classes (people are there to exercise)
  • salsa dance classes (people are there to learn to dance)
  • a pub jukebox playing in the background (people are there to drink, the music is not an influencing factor)

What is late night refreshment?

Late night refreshment means the supply of hot food or hot drink to the public, for consumption on or off the premises, between 11pm and 5am. It includes takeaways, cafés, fast food outlets and mobile catering vehicles. Premises that provide late night refreshment need to hold a premises licence.

If a supermarket or other business premises (for example, a garage) heats food or drink for customers between 11pm and 5am, or provides facilities for customers to heat food or drink above the ambient temperature, a premises licence is required. However, if the business is selling only cold food and drink, and not providing facilities to heat it, a premises licence is not required.

Are there exemptions for the requirement to obtain consent for late night refreshment?

  • Alcoholic hot drinks or hot drinks containing alcohol (although consent to sell alcohol will still be required)
  • Hot drinks distributed by a machine that is operated solely by the customer
  • Hot food or hot drink supplied free of charge, where there is also no charge for admission to any premises, or for some other item to obtain the hot food or hot drink
  • Hot food or hot drink supplied by a registered charity or by a person authorised by a registered charity (for example, a charity which is registered under the Charities Act 1993 or a charity not required by the Charities Act 1993 to be registered)
  • Hot food or hot drink supplied to members and guests of recognized clubs that hold a club certificate

For a village or community hall there are three basic choices:

  1. Do not licence the premises

    Run the premises on temporary events notices (TENs) when the provision of regulated entertainment and/or the sale or supply of alcohol/late night refreshment (LNR) is conducted. This will mean a maximum of 15 events each year at a cost of £21 per event (£315). These costs are usually borne by the hirer. A danger here is that the hall will run out of TENs and could potentially operate illegally.

    Pros – simple, cheaper (£315), TENs holder legally liable for event.

    Cons – strictly limited to 15 events per year. Limited controls over event. A comprehensive hirer’s agreement is essential. Someone has to remember to apply for the TEN in good time as there are strict application conditions.
  2. Licence the premises for regulated entertainment only

    You would still need to use TENs for the supply of alcohol and late night refreshment (15 x TENs per year maximum at £21 each =£315).

    The premises licence will be free of charge because of the exemption for regulated entertainments alone in village halls (apart from an advert in a local paper) the only cost will be when alcohol / LNR is required but these costs are usually borne by the hirer. A danger here is that the hall will run out of TENs and could potentially operate illegally. Someone has to remember to apply for the TEN in good time as there are strict application conditions.

    Pros – Simple and still relatively cheap – (an initial public notice fee up to around £250 with the premises hirer applying and paying for the TENs when needed. Exempt from annual fee)

    Cons – Limited in number of alcohol/LNR events to 15 per year. Application may receive objections from local residents /responsible authorities. An application form (Including an operating schedule) is required which takes between one month and two months to be granted.
  3. Licence for regulated entertainment and for alcohol (and late night refreshment if needed)

    This will involve paying for the application (the fee is based on the rateable value of the premises, for village halls it will usually fall in one of the lower two bands being £100 or £190) and placing an advert in the local paper (up to about £250) giving a total cost of around £300 - £450.  You will also need to pay an annual fee each year which is again based on the rateable value but would be likely to be either £70 or £100. 

    Since July 2009, village halls are not required to designate a designated premises supervisor (DPS) when making a new application for a premises licence, provided that the applicant committee completes the appropriate forms and supplies sufficient information to satisfy us that the proposed management arrangements meet the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003. This means that the hall’s management committee take responsibility for the running of the premises, rather than a specific individual. Halls which had premises licences granted to permit the sale of alcohol before July 2009 can apply to have the requirement for a DPS to be disapplied. Please see our guidance on removal of DPS requirement for community premises for more information.

    Pros – Comprehensive and the least restrictive option.

    Cons – More expensive. Application may receive objections from local residents / responsible authorities. An application form (Including an Operating Schedule) is required. Licence takes between one and two months to be granted depending on objections being received.

Temporary event notices and premises licences explained

Temporary event notice (TENs) explained

If a village hall committee is only expecting to hold up to a maximum of 15 events in a year and the other limitations of a TEN are not too restrictive, they may consider serving a TEN for each specific occasion. This is not an application for a licence but a notification by the event organiser to us, the police and environmental health service that an event is intended to be held.

TENs can be used to authorise ad hoc events held in premises involving no more than 499 people at any one time. The event organiser must, no later than 10 working days before the day on which the event is to start, give copies of the notice to us, the relevant chief officer of police and environmental health service. There must be a minimum of 24 hours between events in respect of the same premises and each event covered by a TEN can only last up to 96 hours. Please note that there are notification requirements and you are advised to see a separate advice sheet available from us relating to TENs. You may give notice of a TEN and pay for it online. If you give notice online it then becomes our responsibility to serve copies of the notice on the police and environmental health.

There are limits to the numbers of TENS that can be issued in any year as follows:

  • Personal licence holders can issue up to 50 in any year
  • Non-personal licence holders can issue up to five in any year
  • No more than 15 TENs can be given in respect of any particular premises in any calendar year, subject to a maximum aggregate duration of 21 days in any year at any individual premises

Provided that the criteria set out above are met, only the police and environmental health may intervene to prevent an event or agree a modification of the arrangements for an event covered by a TEN. This is only in regard to the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. It does not prevent other responsible authorities exercising their powers under other legislation. For example, our environmental protection team can still exercise their powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and serve an abatement notice to prohibit a statutory noise nuisance and seize noise making equipment, if necessary. If the police or environmental health team make an objection then if a compromise cannot be arranged we will arrange for the issue to be heard by a Licensing and Enforcement Sub-Committee which has the option to serve a counter notice to stop the event.

Premises licence

If you want to carry out licensable activities at a community premises on a permanent basis then you will need to apply to us for a premises licence.

For a new premises licence you will need to submit an application to the us together with an operating schedule (see below). The application will have to be advertised in a paper circulating in the area and responsible authorities and residents will be able to make representations regarding the application. If there are no representations the licence will be granted, otherwise the application will go before a Licensing and Enforcement Sub-Committee for a hearing and a decision.

The application form is available to print off or to complete by online application on our page apply for a new premises licence.

What is an operating schedule?

An operating schedule is a document that includes a statement of the following matters:

  • The relevant licensable activities
  • The times during which it is proposed that the relevant licensable activities are to take place
  • Any other times during which it is proposed that the premises are to be open to the public
  • Where the applicant wishes the licence to have effect for a limited period, that period
  • Where the relevant licensable activities include the supply of alcohol then a designated premises supervisor must be named
  • Where the relevant licensable activities include the supply of alcohol, whether the supplies are proposed to be for consumption on the premises or off the premises, or both
  • The steps which it is proposed to take to promote the licensing objectives which are the:
    1. prevention of crime and disorder
    2. protection of public safety
    3. prevention of public nuisance
    4. protection of children from harm
    Further advice on meeting the licensing objectives can be found in guidance sheet GN1.

Where applicable the application must be accompanied by the prescribed fee. Each premises that is licensable is allocated to a fee band according to the non-domestic rateable value of the premises. Where the premises don't have a non-domestic rateable value (as is the case with most community premises) they will be allocated to Band A. Please see our fees sheet for details of the fee payable. A fee is only payable for a community premises when the sale of alcohol is included in the application.

Further points to note

  • The provision of bottles of alcohol as prizes in raffles and tombola are exempt from the need for a licence if tickets are only sold at the event at which the draw takes place.
  • A private party where attendees are invited to attend and no profit is to be made would not need a licence.
  • An indoor sporting event does not need a licence unless it is being held as an entertainment in front of an audience.
  • The supply of hot food or drink past 11pm free of charge or by a registered charity is exempt from the need for a licence.
  • A premises licence or a TEN is required where ‘free’ alcohol is provided in the price of a ticket. This type of supply is a ‘sale’ of alcohol.

The Department of Culture, Music and Science has provided the following advice about whether the hiring of a village hall for a wedding reception or private party at which dancing will take place constitutes the provision of entertainment facilities.

“The hiring out of a public hall for a private event (for example, a wedding reception) would not be a licensable activity if the public are not admitted and the event organiser does not charge those for whom the entertainment is provided. A charge made for the use of the hall as a dance floor (an entertainment facility) by a public hall committee for a private wedding to the host and organiser does not make the event licensable unless the public hall committee are also managing or organising the provision of the entertainment for those attending.” The provision of alcohol for which a charge is made (a pay bar) would require licensing however. (If the alcohol is provided free of charge, no licence is required.)

Disclaimer and contact Information

Please note that the advice in this document should not be regarded as a definitive statement of the law.

We endeavour to keep you up to date with the licensing law and the Council’s website is updated regularly. If you have inquiries, please contact us.