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Getting your business license

When running a business, there are a lots of activities that will require a business license, and you'll need to make sure you understand which licenses you need and keep them up-to-date.

You will learn

  • Whether your business activity requires a license or not
  • Who to contact for support with licensing
  • What to do if your license is refused

Councils are responsible for dealing with the licensing, registration and regulation of a wide range of activities, premises and vehicles. Some of these are required by law nationally, but there are sometimes also local requirements which may also affect your business. It is important to know whether your business activity requires a licence or registration so that you can stay legal.

What can licensors do for you?

If you are unsure whether your activity requires a business licence or registration, you should contact the council in which your business is located (the people to whom you pay your business rates or council tax).

Local Authorities can help you identify what might be relevant to your business and where to get appropriate information. They can also offer you guidance on completing and submitting your licence/registration application and complying with relevant legal requirements.

What do they offer?

  • Guidance when completing and submitting applications
  • Help with identifying which forms you might need and advice on how to complete them
  • Advice on which other agencies you may need to consult to get a license
  • Checks on safety issues and potential public nuisance issues
  • Help with identifying the relevant legal requirements

Further information

If your business involves any of the following activities it is likely you will need to register or obtain a licence, so please contact the local authority where your business is located:

  • Alcohol and entertainment
  • Gambling
  • Animal welfare (pet shops, kennels/catteries, zoos, horse riding, dog breeding, dangerous wild animals)
  • Street trading and markets
  • Charitable collections
  • Scrap metal or motor salvage operators
  • Caravan sites
  • Pleasure boats
  • Sex shops and sexual entertainment venues
  • Cosmetic piercing (registrations for tattooing, ear piercing, acupuncture)
  • Houses of multiple occupation
  • Taxis
  • Pavement cafes

Council contact information:

City of York Council

Licensing services, Eco Dept, Hazel Court, York, YO10 3DS

Phone: (01904) 552512


Hambleton District Council

Hambleton District Council, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Northallerton, North Yorkshire DL6 2UU

Phone: (0845) 1211 555 or 01609 779977


Harrogate Borough Council

Springfield House, Kings Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 5NX

Phone: (01423) 500600 ext. 56843


Richmondshire District Council

Mercury House, Station Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4JX

Phone: (01748) 829100


Ryedale District Council

Ryedale House, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 7HH

Phone: Health and Environment (01653) 600666


Selby District Council

Access Selby, Market Cross Shopping Centre, Selby, YO8 4JS

Phone: (01757) 705101


Scarborough Borough Council

The Licensing Authority, Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Phone: (01723) 232323


Craven District Council

Licensing, 1 Belle Vue Square, Broughton Road, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1FJ

Phone: (01756) 706251


East Riding of Yorkshire Council

County Hall, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, HU17 9BA

Phone: (01482) 396029



A license may be refused for various reasons. Where a licence has a consultation period and an objection is received then the applicant will be informed of this in writing and in the case of alcohol and entertainment licences will be given the opportunity to respond to it at a hearing. The applicant may have the right to appeal a refused application to either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court depending on the legislation that governs that particular licence.

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Written by:

Simon King

Growth Hub Manager

Email Address: