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Under the Licensing Act 2003 you have the right to comment if a premises or club wants to apply for a new licence or vary an existing licence.

Find out about applications

You can find out about a new licence application or where an existing premises licence holder is asking to make a variation to the licence by looking at the latest licensing applications, through an advert in a local newspaper or by way of a blue notice posted at or near the venue.

Where a licence holder only wishes to make a minor variation to an existing licence they must advertise this by way of a white notice posted at or near the venue.

How to comment on an application

You can comment on an application, either against it or in support of it. This is formally known as making a representation. If you want to make a representation to a new application or to a variation, you must do so in writing and send it to us within 28 days of us receiving the application. In the case of a minor variation you must submit your representation within 10 days of us receiving the application.

You can send your representation to:


Regulatory Services Partnership (serving Merton, Richmond and Wandsworth Councils)
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

Please note: You must state the grounds for the representation and include your name and full postal address in your representation. Anonymous representations will not be accepted. Representations which are emailed to this authority will be sent in their entirety to the applicant. If you do not wish your email address to be disclosed, you must send your representation as an attachment.

The date by which the representation must be made is shown in the advert for the application.

Objections must be based on the four licensing objectives. If valid representations are made against a new or major variation application it will have to be referred to the Licensing Committee for decision. Your local ward councillor may be willing to make a representation on your behalf or represent you at the licensing hearing. Where an objection is made to a minor variation application the applicant must re-submit the application as if it were a major variation.

Who can comment on an application?

Other persons

An individual, body or business which is not a responsible authority.

A responsible authority

Police, fire authority, health and safety enforcing authority, planning authority, local authority pollution officer, person responsible for the protection of children from harm, the local weights and measures authority, licensing authority, and public health.

What you can comment about

Under the Licensing Act 2003 we can only take into account 'relevant representations'. This means a representation made by a 'responsible authority' or any other person that has been submitted within the correct timescale and which is not 'frivolous or vexatious'.

The representation must also be about the likely effect of the granting of the application on one or more of the licensing objectives. These are:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder (for example drug-related problems, disorder, drunkenness and anti-social behaviour)
  • Public safety (the physical safety of people using the venue)
  • The prevention of public nuisance (for example noise from music, litter and light pollution)
  • The protection of children from harm (including moral, psychological and physical harm)

We cannot take into account other considerations, such as competition and need.

What happens next?

We will acknowledge receipt of your representation and send you information confirming when the matter will then go before the Licensing Committee. The Committee will consider the application together with any relevant representations.

Notice period

By law, we have to begin a hearing within twenty working days of the last date for representations. We will give at least ten working days' notice of the date of the hearing.

Attending the meeting

The meeting is heard in public and anyone may attend whether they have raised a representation or not.

Addressing the meeting

All those making relevant representations can address the Licensing Committee directly. We can only consider documents produced for the first time at the hearing if everyone agrees. However additional documents, for example photographs, can be submitted before the day of the hearing. Someone else (legally qualified or not) can help or represent you, if you want. You are strongly urged to attend the meeting to your point of view across.

Personal details

Your personal details are not contained in the public documents produced for hearing, for example the report presented to the committee. However the applicant will be sent a copy of all relevant representations received in relation to their application, which will include your name, address and email address. Your email address will also be disclosed if you have submitted your representation by e-mail unless it is provided as an attachment. The Council can, if requested, remove some of the personal details from a representation, for example we could remove the house number from the representation but would keep the street name and the rest of the address. However, there has to be a good reason to do this. Bear in mind that your representation may carry less weight if your location is not disclosed.

The decision

After the committee has heard all parties it will make its decision. The Licensing Committee may:

  • Grant the licence as applied for
  • Grant the licence but modify the conditions of the licence, or reduce the hours of licensable activity
  • Reject the whole or part of the application

This decision is usually made at the time of the hearing and followed up with a letter that gives the full reasons for the decision.


Both the applicant and anyone making representations can appeal to the local magistrates' court if they are dissatisfied with the decision. If the applicant appeals the decision we may ask you to attend court as a witness for the Council.


Once a licence is granted it is not renewed, it will last for the life of the business or until major changes to the physical layout or operation of the premises are sought. However Responsible Authorities or any other person can apply for a review of a licence if the premises cause problems relating to the licensing objectives.

Updated: 06 September 2019

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