This website uses cookies

We use cookies to improve your experience. Find out more about our Cookie Policy.


Business license

Simon King
Start-up advice, Business development, Social media
Find out more about Simon King

In this article you’ll 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

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. 

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 you pay your business rates or council tax to).

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, 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 email:

Hambleton District Council

Hambleton District Council, Civic Centre, Stone Cross, Northallerton,

North Yorkshire DL6 2UU

phone: (0845) 1211 555 or 01609 779977 email:

Harrogate Borough Council

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

phone:(01423) 500600 ext. 56843 email:

Richmondshire District Council

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

phone: (01748) 829100 email:

Ryedale District Council

Ryedale House, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 7HH

phone: Health and Environment (01653) 600666 email:

Selby District Council

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

phone: (01757) 705101 email:

Scarborough Borough Council

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

North Yorkshire

phone: (01723) 232323 email:

Craven District Council

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

phone: (01756) 706251 email:

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

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

phone: (01482) 396029: email:


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.

Regulations eBook CTA


In this article, we've covered who can support you when dealing with licensing, what guidance they can offer and your next steps if your license is refused.