Cinema Licensing

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Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council licence indoor, outdoor and moveable premises used for film showings, to make sure that they are suitable for use, safe and well managed.

Council may also inspect the premises while they are operating to ensure they meet the required standards and comply with licensing conditions.


Who needs a Cinema Licence?

You must have a valid cinema licence to show films to paying members of the public.

There are some exemptions, however, even if you don’t need a licence, you may still need to notify us about your film showings.

Whether you require a licence or not, you’ll need to made sure that your premises and supervision film showings comply with relevant health and safety and fire safety legislation.


Applying for a Cinema Licence

If you are applying for a licence for a new cinema, you should submit your application at least three months before you intend to begin operating.  You must not begin operating until you’ve received your licence.


Renewing an existing licence

Council will send you a reminder letter to renew your licence – you must make your renewal application at least one month before your current cinema licence expires.  Once you have made you renewal application you can continue to operate your premises until we notify you of our decision.

All cinema licences are granted for a period of 12 months and are subject to standard conditions dealing with matters such as days and hours of use, Sunday showings, children’s showings and safety requirements.


How to apply

To apply for a cinema licence, download the application form and return it to Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council along with the relevant fee.

Cinema Licence Application Form


If you require any assistance please feel free to contact us:


Environmental Services Department
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

Telephone: 028 2766 0233



Contact Details

Environmental Services Department
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
Ballymoney Office
Riada House
14 Charles Street
BT53 6DZ

Telephone: 028 2766 0233



Required Documents

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council will need two copies of the floor plans of your premises (drawn at scale no smaller than 1:100) and a location plan of not less than 1:1250 scale if you are applying for:


  • a new cinema licence
  • the renewal of an existing cinema licence where the premises have been altered since the issue of the last licence.

We may request a copy of your premises Fire Risk Assessment and for larger complex premises we may also require a management plan to be submitted.

During the application process we will inspect your premises and will advise you on how to meet the cinema license conditions.

If you are carrying out building works or alterations to your premises you may require Building Regulations approval.


Cinema Licensing Fees

Type of Licence Fee
Grant of Licence £ 150.00 per screen
Renewal of Licence £ 150.00 per screen
Transfer of Licence £   30.00
Amendments to existing licence including requests for additional hours £   30.00

Fees can be paid by cheque, postal order (made payable to Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council), by cash at our offices or by credit or debit card at our offices or by phoning us on 028 7034 7171.



Please allow at least 28 days from the date we receive your application for Council to process it.  We will not progress your application or carry out an inspection until we receive two copies of the floor plans of your premises.

Council will consult with the PSNI and NIFRS when considering cinema licensing applications and take any observations they make into account.


Special permission for additional hours and Sunday film showings

Standard cinema licence hours are Monday – Saturday 8am – 1am the following morning.

If you want to show films outside these house (or on a Sunday) you should include this by imputing on the application or renewal form.


Children’s Showings

A child is regarded as a person under the age of 16 years.

If you want to show films to children you should indicate this on your application or renewal form.

If you are usually exempt from needing a cinema licence, or you already have a cinema licence but it does not cover children’s showings, you need to notify Council if you are going to show films to children.


British Board of Film Classification

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council recognises the BBFC film classifications U, PG, 12, 12A, 15 and 18.

If you intend to show a film which has not been classified by BBFC please contact Council for advice.

Council reserves the right to censor or restrict any film showings whether the film is classified or unclassified.


Cinema Licences for a Moveable Building or Structure  

If you reside in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area and want to give cinema exhibitions in any moveable building or structure such as a marquee, you will need to apply for a cinema licence.

You should complete the section on moveable building or structures on the application form, giving us details such as proposed location and land-owner consent.

If you already have a current cinema licence for your moveable building or structure from another council you will not need another licence for it to show films in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area.

However, before showing any film, you must provide Council with the following:


  • 7 days notice in writing of your plan to show films and Council will notify PSNI and NIFRS.
  • Evidence that you have the land-owner’s consent to use their land for these purposes.  You must also give their contact details on the application form.

If you want to show a film in a vehicle, whether moving or stationary, please contact Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council for advice.



If a grant, renewal or transfer of a cinema licence application is refused or where terms, conditions or restrictions are imposed, you have the right to appeal Council’s decision to the County Court.

A cinema licence is not granted until you receive formal confirmation from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.  You should not show films at your premises until we issue you with a valid cinema licence.


Cinema Licence Conditions

Once a cinema licence has been granted you must comply with all its terms and conditions.



List of offences:

  • It is an offence to show films without a cinema licence unless and exemption applies.
  • It is also an offence to breach the conditions of a cinema licence.
  • Breaches of the cinema licensing legislation can lead to a cinema licence being revoked, as well as you being fined up to £20,000.


Cinema Licence Exemptions

Occasional Use

A cinema licence is not required if you’re showing films for six days or less in a calendar year.  However, you must notify us (in writing) at least 14 days before the film showings.

Council will then notify the PSNI and NIFRS.


Registered Charity or a Not-For-Profit Organisation

If you can provide evidence that the films being shown are for registered charity or not-for-profit organisation you may be exempt from needing a licence, depending on the film showing.

You will not need a cinema licence to show films if:

  • the films are not shown for private gain – although you may charge sums to cover expenses, or
  • the main purpose of the films in advertising or providing information.


You will need a cinema licence if:

  • the main purpose of the premises or organisation is for showing films to children, such as in film clubs, or
  • your premises was used to show a film on more than three out of the last seven days.