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Cambridge City Council

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Licensing overview

 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, 1MB] 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.


You can apply to us 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.

Other guidance

When reading this guidance, you may need to refer to:


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.

For premises in cumulative impact zones, we encourage you to seek pre-application advice from the police licensing officer and our environmental health team before applying. This will help to limit the chance of problems encountered during the representation period.

The current cumulative impact zones in Cambridge are:

Pre-application advice is available by e-mailing:


Environmental Health:

BIIAB-accredited Licensing training

We are accredited with the British Innkeeping Institute Awarding Body (BIIAB). We can 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. Every Premises Licence that provides for the retail sale of alcohol must have a Designated Premises Supervisor attached to the licence. The supervisor 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.