Under the Licensing Act 2003, a licence is needed by anyone operating premises or organising events that include:
- the sale of alcohol
- the provision of regulated entertainment
- the selling of hot food between 11pm and 5am.
You can view the current premises licence register using our online licence register.
Statement of licensing policy
Our statement of licensing policy [PDF, 5.7 MB] sets out how we administer our duties under the Act. The policy came into force in January 2011 and includes our approach to the cumulative impact of licensed premises within certain areas of Cambridge. Please read this policy if you are making an application.
The licensing authority has a duty under the Licensing Act 2003 to carry out its licensing functions by promoting the four licensing objectives, which are:
- the prevention of crime and disorder
- public safety
- the prevention of public nuisance
- the protection of children from harm.
Each objective is of equal importance. These four objectives must be addressed in every case as they apply to the consideration of all licensing matters.
- Guidance for Applicants - April 2017 [PDF, 1MB]
- Guidance for responsible authorities and interested parties [PDF]
- Review guidance for interested parties [PDF]
- Licensing subcommittee hearings procedure [PDF]
Please note that you may apply to Cambridge City Council for a personal licence if you live within the city boundary.
If you work in the city but live outside the boundary then you must apply to your local council.
When reading this guidance, you may need to refer to:
- the Licensing Act 2003 and explanatory notes www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk
- government guidance (and application forms) www.culture.gov.uk
- our other council policies, plans and strategies
- Government guidance on banning the sale of alcohol below the cost of duty plus VAT (from April 2014)
You may wish to seek independent legal advice. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure that any application is correctly and fully completed.
Any applications incorrectly made may result in the application being returned by the licensing authority, unprocessed.
Any pre-application/pre-decision discussions should be addressed to officers of the licensing authority in the first instance.
Applicants should not approach licensing sub-committee members to engage them in pre-application/pre-decision discussions. Any pre-application/pre-decision discussions do not bind the licensing authority to any particular decision.
Please be advised that for applications for premises located in one of the city's Cumulative Impact Zones (CIZ) we strongly suggest you obtain pre-application advice from the Police Licensing Officer and Environmental Health before submitting your application. This will help to limit the chance of problems encountered during the representation period.
The current Cumulative Impact Zones in Cambridge City are as follows:
- City centre (Market Ward) - please see page 35 of the Statement of Licensing Policy for a list of streets
- Mill Road
- Hills Road (between city centre and Purbeck Road)
- Cambridge Leisure Park
Pre-application advice is available by e-mailing:
Environmental Health: email@example.com
BIIAB-accredited Licensing training
Cambridge City Council is accredited with the British Innkeeping Institute Awarding Body (BIIAB) to award the Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing and the Level 2 Award in Personal Licence Holders. On a recent inspection we were awarded with an 'outstanding' grade.
We offer our BIIAB-accredited training at extremely competitive rates and our courses are taught by experienced and qualified licensing officers.
Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing (ARAR)
Licensees need to be able to demonstrate that their employees have been adequately trained. The Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing enables candidates to:
- Understand the main points of licensing law
- Recognise the responsibilities associated with the retail of alcohol
- Understand their duties concerning under-age sales and serving persons who are drunk
- Support the Designated Premises Supervisor to retail alcohol responsibly
Visit our Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing (ARAR) page for further details and to book a place on one of our courses.
Level 2 Award in Personal Licence Holders (APLH)
The BIIAB Level 2 Award in Personal Licence Holders is the market-leading qualification for obtaining a Personal Licence for the retail sale of alcohol.
Licensing law in England and Wales states that anyone who sells or authorises the sale of alcohol to the public must hold a Personal Licence. In addition, every Premises Licence that provides for the retail sale of alcohol must have a Designated Premises Supervisor attached to the licence, who must also hold a Personal Licence.
Visit our Level 2 Award in Personal Licence Holders page for further details and to book a place on one of our courses.