Margaret Evans, Head of Corporate Law explains the essential features of becoming a sole trader.
Who will work on my matter?
Jane Courtney, an Associate in the Commercial Department at FDR Law, with 10 years post-qualification experience, will work on your matter.
We can provide advice, assistance and representation to businesses in relation to licensing applications for business premises including:
- Applications for a new premises licence (section 17 of the Licensing Act 2003).
- Applications to vary an existing premises licence (section 34 of the Licensing Act 2003).
How much might it cost?
It is not possible to provide a fixed fee for dealing with such applications given that they can be of varying complexity. An example of the range of costs for the different cases are:
- Simple application: £650-£850 plus 20% VAT of £130-£160 (based upon 3-4 hours at an hourly rate of £205)
- Medium complexity: £1,000-£1,300 plus 20% VAT of £200 to £260 (based upon 5-6 hours at an hourly rate of £205)
- High complexity: £1,500 upwards plus 20% VAT of £300 upwards(based upon 7 hours or more at an hourly rate of £205)
The factors to take into consideration when deciding the complexity of an application may include whether there is a cumulative impact policy (CIP) in place which can have a substantial impact upon whether or not an application for a new premise licence will be accepted, the type and size of the premises and whether it is within a predominately residential area. An example of a high complexity application for a new premises licence is a large-scale public event.
In the case of a variation to an existing licence the complexity of the application will be decided by whether it is a minor or a major variation.
Minor variations to a premises licence include:
- Adding or removing the sale or supply of alcohol.
- Adding or removing the provision of late-night refreshment.
- Extending or reducing any licensable activity.
- Adding or removing a condition attached to the licence.
Anything which seeks to vary the following would be deemed to be as major variation and therefore treated as a high complexity application given the potential for opposition:
- Submitting plans that result in a substantial alteration to the physical structure of the premises.
- Increasing the trading area of the premises.
- Substantially altering the premises in any way.
Are there any other costs?
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as the application fee. These are in addition to our fees. Where it is possible, we will pay the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. We do ask that you let us have payment on account of them at the beginning of the matter.
- Application fee for a new premises licence or a major variation to an existing premises licence (payable to licensing authority). Applications for the grant of a premises licence are based upon which Council Tax Band the property is located in. As an example below is the pricing structure used by Warrington Borough Council as at August 2021:
£0 - £4,300
£4,301 - £33,000
£33,001 - £87,000
£87,001 - £125,000
£125,000 – or over
NDRV = Non-Domestic Rateable Value
*A multiplier of twice the fee and annual charge applies where use of the premises is exclusively or primarily for the carrying on, on the premises, of the supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises.
**A multiplier of three times the fee and annual charge applies where use of the premises is exclusively or primarily for the carrying on, on the premises, of the supply of alcohol for the consumption on the premise.
- Application fee for a minor variation to a premises licence (payable to licensing authority) - £89
- Advertising fee (payable to local newspaper) - £20 + VAT of £4 (approximately)
- Special delivery fee to serve application (if application is not being submitted online) - £5 (approximately)
- Printing additional copies of plans (if necessary) - £20 + VAT of £4
These fees vary depending upon the individual premises and where it is located. The fees, on occasion, can be higher than those referred to above. We will give you an accurate figure for each item as soon as we are able to do so.
Applications for the grant of a premises licence are based upon the non-domestic rateable value of the premises (NDRV). This is not the same as business rates. The NDRV is a value determined by the Valuation Office. The NDRV, rather than the amount you pay in business rates, will determine the fee level to be paid with the licence application. The NDRV of any premises can be checked on the following website (www.gov.uk).
What do the fees include?
The fees include:
- Taking your instructions and advising how you can promote the licensing objectives within your application. The four main objectives being:
- the prevention of crime and disorder;
- public safety;
- the prevention of public nuisance; and
- the protection of children from harm.
- Advising you as to the type of plans you are required to submit with your application. We cannot produce the plans. You must provide plans of the premises which are accurate and meet the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003.
- Completing the application form for the new premises licence (including the operating schedule) in accordance with your instructions and submitting this to the local licensing authority alongside suitable plans. The operating schedule will need to include details of:
- the licensable activities;
- the times when the activities will take place;
- any other times when the premises will be open to the public;
- information relating to the premises supervisor;
- whether any alcohol that is to be sold is for consumption on/off the premises or both; and
- the steps proposed to be taken to promote the licensing objectives referred to above.
- 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. The responsible authorities include the chief officer of police, the fire authority, environmental health, planning enforcement and child protection. If the application for the premises licence is submitted online, the licensing authority automatically serves a copy on the responsible authorities, so we would not need to deal with this step.
- Drafting notices advertising the premises licence application and submitting a copy to the local newspaper. This has to be done within 10 working days following the date the application is made to the licensing authority. The notice fee will vary depending upon the newspaper. Often the fee is calculated based upon the number of words being used.
- Arranging with you for you to display a notice 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. The notice has to be exhibited on the premises for not less than 28 days following the date the application is submitted to the licensing authority.
- Providing a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) consent form for signature by a personal licence holder proposed by yourself.
- Checking the premises licence once granted and correcting any errors with the licensing authority.
What do the fees not include?
The fees do not include:
- Obtaining suitable plans.
- Attending pre-consultation meetings with the licensing authority or the responsible authorities nor their fee for this meeting.
- Dealing with or advising you in relation to queries or representations received from either the responsible authorities or other interested parties.
- Attendance and representation at a licensing sub-committee hearing of the responsible authorities. If representations are received and attendance at a licensing sub-committee is required then we will provide a separate fee estimate for this work which will be charged at an hourly rate.
- Dealing with any appeal to a decision made by the licensing authority to refuse to grant a premises licence. We would need to refer you to another department if you do want to appeal as the process has to be dealt with in the Magistrates Court. An appeal has to be made within 21 days following receipt of notice of a refusal to grant a licence.
How long will my matter take?
It would usually take between 2-3 weeks following receipt of full instructions from you for the application to be submitted to the licensing authority. 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 from you any plans or other information we require, it may take longer.
Once the application has been submitted to the licensing authority the following time scales for each application to be dealt with are:
- New licence – 28 days for any objections to be received then 42 days for a decision to be made.
- Variation to an existing licence – 28 days for any objections to be received then 42 days for a decision to be made.
- Minor variation to an existing licence – 10 working days for any objections to be received then 14 days for a decision to be made.
The licensing authority will serve notice of its decision on the applicant, any person who has made relevant representations and the chief of police.
The costs and timescales are for guidance only, they are not quotes and will not form the basis of any engagement between us. We will provide full details of likely costs and timescales for you at the beginning of your matter. Those specific details will supersede the general information provided here.
Further information about premises licences and the application processes can be found at:
Further information on the different types of alcohol licences available can be found at: