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Licensing

If you apply for a licence from your local council (the licensing authority) in Kent or Medway, the council are legally required to consult Kent Fire and Rescue Service before granting one. This is so that we can check that the fire safety provisions you have are appropriate and adequate for public safety.

Do I need a licence?

If your business needs or wishes to

you will need to apply to your local council for a licence. This applies to indoor, outdoor and temporary events.

What sort of licence do I need?

There are different types of licence. The sort of licence you need will depend on your business activity. 

Information on licences and how to apply for a licence for your premises can be found on the .Gov website or on the licensing section of the website of your local council. You will find a handy list of council websites at the end of this page. 

Types of licence include: 

Kent Fire and Rescue Service and your licence application

As part of the application process, your local council will notify and consult Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) during a 21-day ‘consultation period’. This is because the licensing authority (your local council) are required by law (the Licensing Act 2003 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) to consider certain things including public safety, before granting a licence.

Once the local council have notified us of your application for a licence we will need certain things from you.

What KFRS will do and require from you

We will:

  • contact you to check that you have carried out a fire risk assessment 

All businesses need to complete and maintain a fire risk assessment. You will be required to produce this for the Fire Service if you apply for a licence. For further information see our assessment pages 

  • ask to see your fire risk assessment

  • you may also be asked to show us your detailed fire evacuation plan

This written document should include the action to be taken by all staff in the event of a fire and the arrangements for calling the fire service. KFRS have created a handy template to help you create your evacuation plan.  

  •   you may also be asked to show us a scale plan detailing your fire safety provisions such as exits and routes, alarms, emergency lighting etc, Your plan should be on the minimum scale of 1:100 indicating the fire safety provisions you have in place and should show: 

(a)  available exits and associated routes

(b)  fire alarm if fitted 

(c)  emergency lighting 

(d)  location of firefighting equipment

  • We may visit and inspect your premises to check that you have appropriate fire safety provisions in place.

  • You will also need to calculate the occupancy of your premises so that you can:

(a) state the number of people who will occupy the premises and how that figure has been reached. (You may wish to use our handy occupancy calculation guide.) If you do not do this, conditions may be attached by the licensing authority (the council).

(b) show how you will ensure good order and behaviour when the premises are occupied and there is public entertainment

(c) steward the premises when there are over 50 people, be aware of how many people are on the premises and prevent overcrowding    

Once we have been in contact with you and seen all necessary documents as above, we will report to the licensing authority (your local council) in our capacity as statutory consultees. 

What if my fire safety arrangements are not good enough?

If we find your fire risk assessment or fire safety provisions are not sufficient, we need to inspect your premises, or have queries, we will make representation to the licensing authority (the council) highlighting our fire safety concerns regarding your licence application. This means your local council may not be able to issue a licence until your fire safety provisions are amended to meet the necessary safety standards. See our Assessment pages for further details

I want to change my existing licence – will you still need to check my fire safety arrangements? 

Yes. Your local council advise us of all licencing applications, including changes to any aspect of existing licences, for example to change the hours when alcohol is served. 

 We follow the same process for changes to existing licences as we do for new licence application (see above). 

More information about the Licencing Act 2003

You will find further information about the Licencing Act 2003 on our Licencing Act page. 

Select your local council from the following list. The home page of their website will open in a separate window, from where you can search for licensing information. 

Ashford Borough Council 

Canterbury City Council

Dartford Borough Council 

Dover District Council 

Folkestone and Hythe District Council 

Gravesham Borough Council 

Maidstone Borough Council 

Medway Council 

Sevenoaks District Council 

Swale Borough Council 

Thanet District Council 

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council 

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

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