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Welcome to Westminster Licensing Advice

Do you live in Westminster? Specialist advice is available to residents of Westminster in respect of Licensing Act 2003 (eg bars, nightclubs, takeaways) and some Gambling Act 2005 applications which residents feel may have an adverse effect on them, or where there are existing problems caused by the operation of a premises. We also provide advice on SEV (Sexual Entertainment Venue) license applications.

The Licensing Laws

Licensing Act 2003

Licensing Act 2003 permits licensed premises to apply to stay open much later than was allowed prior to 2005, and for those living nearby this may not be a welcome change. Under the licensing system, residents can oppose changes that could negatively affect their neighbourhood. Objections need to relate to the likely impact of the application on the promotion of the ‘licensing objectives’, which are: prevention of public nuisance, prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and protection of children from harm. The licensing objectives underpin the Act.

Click here for a step by step guide to the licensing process

Residents can also apply to “review” an existing licence if problems are being caused by a licensed premises. This includes problems with noise, nuisance, crime and disorder and a range of other problems.

For more information please see the advice section of this website or contact us.

Gambling Act 2005

The Gambling Act covers applications involving betting shops, and requires licensing authorities to ‘aim to permit’ gambling, subject to a number of factors. There are commonly two types of betting shop application: for a new betting shop, or an extension of hours for an existing betting shop. Different factors apply to each and the requirements of the Act for residents to be able to make effective representations are notably different to those of Licensing Act 2003.

Click here for a step by step guide to the licensing process

There is also a right of review under Gambling Act 2005, but again the requirements are different to those in Licensing Act 2003.

For more information please contact us.

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

A number of premises in Westminster have what is known as a ‘Rule 4 waiver’ on their Licensing Act 2003 licences. This refers to Rule 4 of the Council’s former Rules of Management for Places of Public Entertainment, which forbade nudity. A waiver of that rule obviously allows nudity, either in part or in full, and so historically allowed premises with the benefit of the waiver to operate as strip clubs, lap dancing clubs and similar under Local Government Act 1963. Such permissions were automatically carried over onto premises licences issued under Licensing Act 2003 when all the previous legislation pertaining to alcohol and entertainment licensing, including Local Government Act 1963, was amalgamated into one Act

However, a change in the law re-categorised these premises as ‘sexual entertainment venues’ (SEVs) and required each premises to reapply for a licence for ‘relevant entertainment’ ie nudity or semi-nudity, under the above Act. Other premises without a ‘Rule 4 waiver’ can also apply for a licence. The relevant grounds for objection under the Act are again different to those for the alcohol/entertainment licensing and gambling licensing regimes, and unlike licences issued under those two regimes, SEV licences must be renewed each year by application to the City Council.

Click here for a step by step guide to the licensing process

For more information please contact us.

Free advice for all residents in Westminster

The Licensing Advice Project is open to all residents of Westminster who have concerns about licensed premises. We advise residents on their rights under the new licensing system and provide extensive support and assistance for any resident who wishes to make a complaint or comment on a licensing matter to Westminster City Council, and represent residents at licensing hearings.

More information

For a general guide for residents to the Licensing Act 2003, please click here.docx

For advice from our specialist licensing adviser, please contact us.


The content of this website is for general information only for residents in relation to their role as potential interested parties in connection with relevant licensing legislation and is not intended to be, or constitute, legal or other professional advice. The website content is provided as at the date the information was published and may be subject to change after that date. Legal or other professional advice should be taken before acting or relying upon any of the contents of or information contained in this website. We are not responsible for external links.