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Licences & Street Trading Information

Bedford Borough Council is the Unitary Council for the Borough of Bedford.  Unitary Councils are also multi-purpose licensing authorities for the area they cover.  The central licensing service of Bedford Borough Council is provided by the Democratic and Registration Services within the Governance & HR Division of the Chief Executive’s Directorate.  The key objective of the Group in this regard is to utilise the Council’s licensing powers to maximise public protection, to protect the consumer and (where appropriate) the welfare of animals and to manage the function to progressively reduce the cost of licensing to the Council.


The Group is responsible for delivery of the licensing functions to the General Licensing Committee and the (Licensing Act 2003) Licensing Committee.  These Committees are comprised of elected Councillors and they determine licensing policies.  Certain policies will also require the consent of the Executive and of the Full Council.


In order to facilitate delivery of an effective and efficient licensing service there is extensive delegation to the Head of Service who may grant or refuse individual applications or suspend or refuse individual licences, consents or registrations. Officers of the Council fully process the majority of applications and investigate fully issues concerning licensable activity.  Individual cases may be referred to a small group of elected Councillors in order for them to determine the appropriate action.  These Councillors will then meet as a Sub-Committee of one or other of the Licensing Committees.


Before any Councillor can be a Member of a Licensing Sub-Committee they must have undertaken at least 7.5 hours of training on the Authority’s licensing functions.


The licensing areas that the Unit is responsible for are:

  • Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshments. This includes Personal and Premises Licences/Certificates and Temporary Events.
  • Bookmaker, Bingo and Gaming Machine Premises and Small lotteries.
  • Public Charitable House to House and Street Collections.
  • Animal Boarding, Dangerous Wild Animals, Dog Breeding, Pet Shops, Riding Establishments and Zoos
  • Taxis and Private Hire Operators, Vehicles and Drivers
  • Scrap Metal Dealers and Motor Salvage Operators
  • Sex Establishments
  • Street Trading and Street Cafés/Highways Tables and Chairs.


Using the links in the list on the left hand side of this page you can access details for the above licensing areas. You can also access details of Licensing's Promise, on-line payment options, consultations and details of prosecutions and enforcement for licensing using those links.


If you would like to contact the Council in relation to its licensing responsibilities, you can do so in the following ways:


Write to:  

Licensing Service, Democratic & Registration Services, 3rd Floor, Borough Hall, Bedford. MK42 9AP       

Email:              licensing@bedford.gov.uk

Telephone: 01234 276943


Certain residual licensing areas are still managed by individual services and these are:

  • Cosmetic Treatment Licence (Environmental Health/Trading Standards)
  • Sunday Trading (Environmental Health/Trading Standards)

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