Licensing applications - small businesses

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Pricing Information for small businesses in respect of licensing applications for business premises (new applications or varying existing licenses).

Please note that a small business is a sole trader of business employing up to 49 employees.

We can provide advice and guidance in relation to the review of premises licences and our team members have appeared as advocate on behalf of clients at hearings before Licensing Committees and on appeal to the Magistrates' Court.

We can act for businesses applying for a new premises licence or to vary a premises licence to allow those premises to be used for one or more licensable activities.

The fee structure described below applies only to applications for a premises licence under Section 17 of the Licensing Act 2003 and applications to vary a premises licence under Section 34 of the Licensing Act 2003, which are as follows:

Based on our experience on average we find that the following range of costs  or a range of costs applies:

Simple application

£2,400 - £3,600, this is based on 10 to 15 hours at an hourly rate of £240 plus VAT

£2,880 to £4,320 inclusive of VAT
Medium complexity £4,200 - £5,600, this is based on 15 to 20 hours at an hourly rate of £280 plus VAT £5,040 to £6,720 inclusive of VAT
High complexity

£6,400 - £9,600, this is based on 20 to 30 hours at an hourly rate of £320 plus VAT 

£7,680 to £11,520 inclusive of VAT

Please note that any reference to VAT is at the current rate of 20% unless otherwise stated.

Factors affecting complexity include whether there is a cumulative impact policy in place, whether protracted discussions are required with planners, architects and the Local Authority prior to the application being prepared and submitted, the type and size of the premises, or whether it is in a residential area and therefore more likely to receive objections. 

A simple application might involve a premises in a retail development with little likelihood of objection and where the licensing objectives are straight forward to achieve. 

A medium complexity application might involve: cases where there is likely to be concern from local residents; whether there is a cumulative impact policy in place, or where late night refreshments are to be provided. 

A high complexity scenario might include the medium complexity factors plus, for example: large scale public events; where the application is contentious and therefore likely to be challenged; where protracted negotiations are required with planners, architects and the Local Authority prior to the application being prepared and submitted. 

As you can see no application is the same and therefore we cannot give you a reliable estimate without first obtaining details of your intended transaction. There may be unique factors that apply to your transaction that we have not listed here.  That is why we will always give you an individual cost estimate at the start of a transaction, taking into account the actual features of your case. We will always advise you immediately about any complication, and discuss the potential impact on price before any additional charges are incurred.

The range of costs indicated above includes:

  • Taking your instructions
  • Advising you as the type of plans you are required to submit with your application and where necessary obtaining suitable plans
  • Advising you as to how you can promote the licensing objectives within your premises licence application
  • Attending pre-consultation meetings with the Licensing Authority or Responsible Authorities, but does not include their fee for this meeting (if applicable)
  • Completing the application form for a new premises licence (including the operating schedule) in accordance with your instructions and submitting this to the local licensing authority alongside suitable plans.
  • Providing guidance on the fee levels payable to the licensing authority
  • Preparing copies of the premises licence application for disclosure to the responsible authorities and serving copies of the application on the responsible authorities
  • Providing a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) consent form for signature by a personal licence holder proposed by yourself.
  • Drafting the notices advertising the premises licence application and submitting the notice to the local newspaper.
  • Arranging with you for you to display the notice(s) advertising the premises licence application and advising as to where and how this should be done by you in order to comply with the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003.
  • Dealing with or advising you in relation to queries or representations received from either the responsible authorities or other interested parties
  • Checking the licence once granted and correcting any errors with the licensing authority.
  • Advising on varying the licence.

Additional costs will be payable for submitting and advertising the application and are payable as disbursements, which are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as the application fee. We will pay the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process, although we will require funds on account from you to cover these.  However the range of additional costs that might apply to a given case vary, even from region to region,  and it is therefore impractical for us to give definitive guidance on these costs here.  We have however attempted to give you the range of costs you might expect to incur:

The initial application fee (payable to the licensing authority) varies according to the rateable value of the property in question, whether the premises will be used exclusively or primarily for the supply of alcohol for consumption on the premise.

From £100 to £1,905 including VAT.  Annual charges of between £70 and £1,050 inclusive of VAT also apply, again depending on rateable value and use.

Advertising fees vary greatly, in our experience in the regions:

From £15.45 + VAT to  £237.93 + VAT in London.  Newspapers will change their rates from time to time so we will only be able to give you an accurate figure once we have been instructed. 

In some circumstances, although increasingly rarely, an Enquiry Agent may be required to  display public notices. The fees for such work will vary from area to area.

From £250 and £500 + VAT (£300 to £600 inclusive of VAT) per attempt.

If for some reason the application cannot be submitted online it will be necessary to submit the application by special delivery.  Click for Royal Mail's prices for special delivery

For example: special delivery for a medium letter (A4) £7.14 (VAT inclusive) for up to 1/2 kg.

If for some reason the application cannot be submitted online and or additional copies of plans are required, Local Authorities charge as necessary for this service and costs vary depending on the individual premises and where they are located. The fees can on occasion be higher than the ranges given and we will give you an accurate figure for each item if necessary since charges increase year on year. However we commonly see the following range of charges:

For example: A4 each copy 0.25p per page 0.05p - VAT @ 20% Total: 0.30p per page.

Sometimes we may need to travel to attend meetings.

We charge rail fares at cost or mileage at 0.45p per mile (+ VAT) together with parking charges incurred (inclusive of VAT).

Please note that any reference to VAT is at the current rate of 20% unless otherwise stated.

We have a range of experienced individuals who would work on your case. In order to find out more about who they are, their qualifications and level of experience please click on the Key contacts above. 

The fee does not include attendance and representation at a licensing sub-committee hearing of the responsible authority. If representations are received and attendance and representation at a licensing sub-committee is required then we will provide a separate fee estimate for this work which will be charged at either a medium or high complexity rate depending upon the issues involved.

How long will my application take?

It usually takes between 4 and 8 weeks from receipt of full instructions from you to submit the application. This is on the basis of the application being relatively straightforward and you being able to provide all the necessary documents promptly. If your matter is more complex, for example, if there is likely to be substantial opposition from interested parties, or if there is a delay in receiving the documents we need, it may take longer.

Once submitted it takes at least 28 days to hear whether your application has been successful or whether objections have been raised, in which case additional fees will be incurred to make representations to the Licensing Sub - Committee and, if necessary, thereafter appeal to the Magistrates' Court.


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