To authorise the supply of alcohol and regulated entertainment in a qualifying club you need a Club Premises Certificate from the 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.
Only ‘qualifying’ clubs may hold club premises certificates. In order to constitute a qualifying club you must also satisfy the various requirements set out in the Licensing Act 2003.
Qualifying clubs should not be confused with proprietary clubs, which are clubs run commercially by individuals, partnerships or businesses for profit. These require a premises licence and are not qualifying clubs.
The act sets out five general conditions which a relevant club must meet to be a qualifying club.
Additional conditions in relation to the supply of alcohol must be complied with. These conditions are:
A club cannot provide facilities authorised by the CPC to the general public in a way that is contrary to the above criteria and must operate in good faith. A club must have Club Rules to demonstrate they comply with the conditions for a qualifying club.
The Club must ensure that all persons who are supplied alcohol and use the club facilities are members and bona fide guests to demonstrate the club is run as a qualifying club. The clubs position regarding the admittance of members and guests should be outlined within the club rules. The 2003 Act does not prevent visitors to a qualifying club being supplied with alcohol as long as they are ‘guests’ of any member of the club or the club collectively.
Nothing in the 2003 Act prevents the admission of such people as guests without prior notice and there is no mandatory requirement under the 2003 Act for guests to be signed in by a member of the club. However, should this not occur a point may be reached where a club is providing commercial services to the general public in a way that is contrary to its qualifying club status. It is at this point that the club would no longer be conducted in “good faith” and would no longer meet the general conditions for qualifying clubs under the Act.
Under the 2003 Act, the licensing authority must decide when a club has ceased to operate in “good faith” and give the club a notice withdrawing the club premises certificate. The club is entitled to appeal against such a decision to a magistrates’ court.
Should your club wish to provide commercial services to members of the general public on a regular basis it is recommended that the club applies for a premises licence rather than a club certificate. This will give the club the flexibility to hold public events and allow any person access without having to be a member or guest.
Alternatively an individual on behalf of a club may give temporary event notices for one off events open to the general public at the club premises providing the requirements are met. Please refer to relevant guidance packs available on our website for further information.
To apply for a club premises certificate the qualifying club must submit an application to the local authority in which the premises is located. The application must provide details of the proposed licensable activities, such as sale of alcohol or live music, and timings. The applicant must consider the impact of the proposed licensable activities and outline the steps they intend to take to promote the four licensing objectives in their operating schedule. The four licensing objectives are:
We recommend that all applicants read the council’s Licensing Policy and read the section 182 guidance of the Licensing Act 2003 before submitting an application.
Do I need to advertise my application?
Yes. During the consultation period the applicant must display a notice(s) at the premises applied for providing a brief summary of the application in accordance with the regulations for a period of 28 consecutive days, starting on the day after the day the application is submitted to the licensing authority. The applicant must also publish a notice in a local newspaper on at least one occasion during the period of 10 working days, starting on the day after the day the application is submitted to the licensing authority.
Who can make a representation?
Anyone can make a representation in respect of an application for a club premises certificate. Any representation must clearly state how an application may impact on the promotion of one or more of the four licensing objectives. A representation can be made in favour of, or against, an application.
The public can see details of applications by viewing details of the application on the council’s website, viewing the public notices at the premises, or by viewing the one off notice in a local newspaper such as the Basingstoke Gazette or Observer. Representations must be received in writing (which can include email) by the end of the 28 day public consultation period. This date will be printed on any of the above advertising options. Any representations received after the 28 days will not be considered. The applicant may offer to make amendments to their application to the satisfaction of persons making a representation in which case the representation can be withdrawn.
How long will my application take to be decided?
If at the end of the 28 consultation period no objections are received from the responsible authorities or other persons, the club certificate will be issued in line with the application. Where relevant objections are received and not subsequently withdrawn, the application will be referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee for decision within 21 days.
A minor variation is usually excepted when it is assessed that the change to the licence will have little or no impact on the licensing objectives. Once the applicant has submitted the application, the Licensing Authority will consult for 10 working days with the Responsible Authorities and any interested parties. During this time the applicant must display a white public notice (opens in a new window) (DOC) [35kb] at their premises to advertise the minor variation. Both the application and fee can be submitted online, with a copy of the club premises certificate and any supporting documentation, such as new plans.
It is expected that the minor variations process will be used for changes such as:
The minor variations process cannot be used to:
A full variation is for when a substantial change to the club premises certificate. In all cases the overall test is whether the proposed variation could impact adversely on any of the four licensing objectives. Variations to increase the amount of time during which alcohol may be sold or supplied from a premises are excluded from the minor variations process and must be treated as full variations in all cases.
The full variation process is similar to an application for a new club premises certificate, there is a 28 day consultation period and there has to be an advert in the local newspaper and a public notice on blue paper (opens in a new window) (DOCX) [15kb]. The fee for the application is based on the non-domestic rateable value of the premises and can be submitted online with the application form.
Any person making a representation will be invited to attend the hearing and speak about their representation to the sub-committee. The sub-committee will consider all representations whether the person making the representation attends or not, and will determine the application at the hearing or within 5 working days, and provide a written decision notice. The committee may only consider relevant matters and must consider each application on its individual merits and not compare to other licensed premises in the borough. If someone wishes to appeal against a council’s licensing decision, they will have the right to do so to the Magistrates’ court.
The licensing team are able to offer guidance and advice on completing application forms, but are not able to complete your application for you. We can offer example wording for your operating schedule which has been recommended by the Police and Trading Standards, and also guidance on how to complete the form itself. It is recommended your contact the Police Licensing Officer and Trading Standards in the first instance to seek their advice on your proposed activities.
If you require detailed advice on your application it is recommended that you seek independent advice from a Licensing Solicitor or Licensing Consultant.
Should you require a meeting with a licensing officer once you have completed your application form, please contact the licensing team by phone or email to make an appointment. Officers have busy diaries to please ensure you have allowed sufficient time for submitting your application within your desired timescale.
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