Variation Of Existing Licence

Do you need to change something on your premises licence but are unsure if it is classed as a major or minor variation? Have a look at our quick guide below or give our team a call today on 08000 786 056.


What’s the difference between a major variation and a minor variation?


There are two types of variation of an existing licence, at a glance, here are the main differences between major and minor licence variations:

Major or minor variation to a premises licence


Businesses evolve over time. If your business changes, you may need to alter parts of your existing premises licence. You might wish to apply for a minor variation or a major variation to your premises licence.
Any type of variation to a premises licence must not compromise the objectives of the Licensing Act 2003.

  • These objectives are:
  • The prevention of crime and disorder. Ensuring licensed premises do not contribute to crime and disorder in the local area, and that they promote responsible drinking and behaviour.
  • Public safety. Preventing excessive noise, litter and other forms of nuisance.
  • The protection of children from harm. Making sure children are not exposed to harmful or inappropriate activities or environments, and measures are in place to prevent underage drinking.
  • The promotion of public health. Promoting the responsible consumption of alcohol and providing healthy food options.

The protection of the environment. Ensuring licensed premises do not harm the local environment and promote responsible waste management and energy consumption.
The Licensing Act regulates the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and late-night refreshment. It aims to balance the needs of the licensed premises, customers and the wider community to promote a safe, enjoyable environment for all.

What is a minor variation to a premises licence?

A minor variation to a premises licence is a small change. These are some examples:

  • Changing the layout of the premises, such as installing new fixtures and fittings.
  • Making small changes to the hours of operation, such as increasing the hours of regulated entertainment.
  • Adding or removing a licensable activity that is similar in nature to an activity that is already covered by the licence.

What documents do you need for a minor variation?

To apply for a minor variation, you need to provide:

  • A completed minor variation application form.
  • A copy of your existing premises licence.
  • A plan of the premises if you are changing the layout.

Depending on the nature of the minor variation you might need to supply other information, such as details of the proposed activity and how it will be carried out.

What is a major variation to a premises licence?

A major variation to a premises licence (also known as a full variation) is a significant change that could potentially affect the objectives of the Licensing Act 2003.

Under the Act, major variations include:

  • Extending the hours of licensable activities beyond those currently authorised by the licence, particularly if it would cause increased noise and disturbance in the local area.
  • Adding a new category of licensable activity, such as introducing the sale of alcohol.
  • Making big changes to the hours in which alcohol is sold.
  • Transferring a premises licence
  • Changing the designated premises supervisor (DPS)

Depending on the change, you may have to submit a completely new application for a premises licence. Our friendly team can advise you whether to apply for a major variation or a new licence.

What documents do you need to apply for a major variation?

The supporting documents you need depend on the nature and extent of the proposed changes. As well as the application form and a copy of the current licence, you may have to include:

  • A detailed plan of the premises. This should provide details of the existing layout and any proposed changes.
  • A written statement of the proposed changes. This should outline the nature and extent of the proposed changes, such as changes to hours of operation or the types of activities to be carried out.
  • A risk assessment. Depending on the nature of the proposed changes, a risk assessment might be required to assess the impact on public safety, crime prevention, or public nuisance.
  • Evidence of consultation. You may be required to provide evidence that you have consulted with local residents, businesses and other relevant parties to make sure the changes are acceptable.

At Innpacked, we can advise you what supporting documents you need as they vary between licensing authorities. We are here to guide you and answer all your questions.

How long does the application process take? 

The length of the application process depends on the nature and extent of the variation and your local licensing authority’s procedures. However, some timescales are set out in the Licensing Act 2003.
Once your application is received by the local licensing authority, they may send a copy to interested parties such as the police, the fire and rescue service, the planning department and environmental health.
The day after you submit your application, you might be required to display a public notice of the proposed variation, so members of the public have a chance to respond. If you are applying for a major variation, you must display a notice for 28 days.

For minor variations, you will receive a decision from the local licensing authority within 15 days. The clock starts the day after the licensing authority receives your application.
With major variations, you are likely to receive a decision within a week of the 28-day consultation period.

Can you appeal if your application is refused?

You cannot appeal the outcome of a minor variation, but you can revise and resubmit your application.
If you have applied for a major variation, you do have the right to appeal to the Magistrate’s Court. Your appeal must be made within 21 days of the decision.

How to apply for a major or minor variation to a premises licence

Our team at Innpacked can advise you about every aspect of major and minor variations. Whether you need a little guidance, or you would like us to take care of the whole process from start to finish, we can help.
If you need to apply for a major or minor variation to a premises licence, please get in touch with our experienced licensing team today. We make it easy to get licensed so you can focus entirely on your business.

You can call us on 08000 786 056 or contact us here.

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