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Pavement Licences

New legislation introduced by Government

The Government has introduced temporary measures through The Business and Planning Act 2020 to support businesses selling food and drink in their outdoor spaces.

To support local businesses selling food and drink such as cafes, pubs and restaurants and in line with the Government position, the Council has introduced a new licensing procedure. Businesses would obtain permission in the form of a 'Pavement Licence' for the placement of furniture such as tables and chairs on the public highway outside their premises.

This licence is not applicable for private land not on the highway, you will need permission from the landowner.

Pavement Licences will be granted for up to a maximum of one year but will expire no later than 30 September 2024.

The grant of a pavement licence only permits the placing of furniture on the highway.  Other regulatory frameworks still apply, such as the need for alcohol licences and the need to comply with registration requirements for food businesses. All pavement licences will be granted subject to the National and Local conditions below.

National Conditions - Mandatory

Annex A: National conditions

The Secretary of State publishes these conditions in exercise of his powers under clause (5) and (6) of the Business and Planning Act 2020. See the external links section.

No Obstruction Condition

Clear routes of access along the highway must be maintained, taking into account the needs of disabled people. This includes the recommended minimum footway widths and distances required for access by mobility-impaired and visually impaired people as set out in Section 3.1 of Inclusive Mobility which can be found in the external links section.

Smoke Free Seating Condition

Where the furniture to be put on the relevant highway consists of seating for use by persons for the purpose of consuming food or drink, the licence-holder must make reasonable provision for seating where smoking is not permitted

Local conditions

The following licensing conditions will apply to all Pavement Licence Areas (PLA) unless otherwise specified.

  1. A minimum 2 metres width of unobstructed footway must remain available to passing pedestrians (taking into account any street furniture, street lights and more). In areas of high foot fall more than 2 metres of unobstructed highway may be required to allow for social distancing of pedestrian traffic.
  2. All customers using the PLA will be required to be seated.
  3. Waste bins must be emptied at regular times to ensure they do not spill waste into the PLA and/or Highway.
  4. Licence holders will be required to remove any umbrella or parasol if it obscures CCTV coverage and interferes with the detection and prevention of crime and disorder.
  5. The licence holder shall ensure that the PLA is properly supervised by a member of staff at all times when it is open.
  6. Alcoholic drinks, provided within the PLA, must be served in polycarbonate or shatterproof glasses where available.
  7. Alcohol can only be consumed in the designated PLA if the premise has a licence to sell alcohol.
  8. All food and drink to be served to the table. Customers are not allowed to purchase food away from the tables or to stand whilst consuming food. 
  9. No music is allowed outside in the PLA.
  10. Use of the PLA must cease by 11pm unless stated otherwise on the licence, earlier finishing times and additional conditions may be considered for any PLA in a mixed residential area.
  11. Where gas heaters are used, the connections, including the regulator, hose and clips must be fit for purpose and checked on a regular basis.
  12. Within the no smoking area suitable 'no smoking' signage must be made available.  No ash trays are to be provided in this area.
  13. Where the PLA is close to neighbouring businesses and residential properties you must have control measures in place to prevent nuisance and disturbance from smells, odour, noise and litter. 
Management of the highway
  1. Tables and chairs shall not be affixed to the highway
  2. The furniture should be of a high quality and uniform style within the PLA and should complement the surrounding area. White plastic and/or picnic tables will not normally be approved.  
  3. Umbrellas will be permitted where they do not obstruct pedestrian or vehicle visibility.  Where umbrellas are used, these must be fabric type (for example, not reflective). They may display a small logo up to 150 mm x 450 mm in the size of the establishment’s name, but there may be local restrictions preventing the display of brand names or brewery logos. Umbrellas are to be positioned to avoid overhanging outside the enclosure or impairing vehicle/pedestrian sight lines.
  4. Non-furniture items for example menu boards, signs and portable gas heaters also need to be approved as part of the enclosed PLA and any unacceptable clutter or intrusion into sight lines will need to be removed if it is seen to be causing a problem.
  5. No signs, displays, balloons, promotional items or bindings for the purpose of support are to be attached to street furniture.
  6. The PLA, when in use, should be demarked by suitable temporary barriers that protect the safety of pedestrians and users whilst clearly identifying the PLA.  This is to be a portable barrier which is of a suitable colour and construction so as to be distinguishable to other pavement users and particularly the blind and visually impaired pedestrians, such as detectable by a stick and of a contrasting colour. 
  7. Barrier posts must be solid so that they do not create or constitute a trip hazard and should not have any ornamental features projecting horizontally.
  8. All furniture and barriers should be safely removed at the end of the specified hours detailed within the Pavement Licence and/or when the PLA is not intending to operate and be stored away from public areas in such a location where it is safe, secure and unable to be accessed by members of the public.
  9. Where repair, maintenance or alteration of the pavement/highway is to be undertaken, the Council will endeavour to give the licence holder notice unless it is urgently required.  The Council will not be liable for any loss of earnings whilst repair/maintenance is carried out.  The licence holder must allow the Council reasonable access for such works.
  10. There will be no compensation or liability for loss of business resulting from a temporary restriction on occupation of the highway or operation of the pavement licence area by a legitimate authority (e.g. Police, Statutory undertakers, County Council or local District Council) or for any other reason.
  11. The County Council (in its capacity as local highway authority) and others will need access at various times (including emergencies) for maintenance, installation, special events, improvements, and more.  Wherever possible, advance notice will be given.
  12. Where a charter is in place for the holding of any market or street fair, and the area is required by that fair or market, the holder of the licence must remove all furniture and items associated with the licence from that location for the duration of the market or fair.
  13. The Council may also require daily access for cleaning the highway, usually in the morning before 9am, but the applicant should check local arrangements with the District Council.
  14. The licence holder will be responsible for any damage, including stains’, to the highway.
Compliance and enforcement
  1. The Council reserves the right to suspend/revoke the licence in the event of a breach of any term or condition, or when it deems that the area is no longer suitable.  The granting of a Pavement licence does not convey any ongoing legal entitlement to use the highway.
  2. The Council shall be entitled to suspend the Pavement Licence on the occurrence of a special event, an emergency control measure, or any other circumstance, which the Council considers necessitating a temporary suspension.
  1. The licence holder shall indemnify the Council against all actions, proceedings, claims, demands and liability which may at any time be taken, made or incurred in consequence of the use or presence of the chairs and tables and other objects.
  2. The licence does not authorise any unlawful interference with the convenience of persons using the highway or affects the rights of owners of the premises adjoining the highway or the rights of the Utility Companies. You must give access to emergency services.
  3. The subletting of the permission granted by the Pavement Licence is prohibited.
  4. Licence holders are required to obtain public liability insurance covering the business for a minimum of £5,000,000 at all times the PLA is operational. It is the responsibility of the licence holder to forward up-to-date copies of insurance certificates as and when they expire. Failure to comply with this condition can constitute an offence under the Pavement Licence policy and enforcement action can be taken.
  5. The grant of a Pavement Licence shall not be deemed to give any approval or consent which may be needed under any byelaw, enactment or regulation other than cafes under section 115c of Part VIIA of the Highways Act 1980. For the avoidance of doubt this includes the requirement to seek and obtain planning permissions and/or advertisement consent.

Making an Application


Before starting your application we strongly advise that you take time to read all the information about each step.

This will ensure that you know:

  • What you need to do
  • When to do it
  • What you need to provide
  • How to do it
  • How much it will cost 

Please find below a simple step-by-step guide to help you through the application process. You MUST follow the steps in order to ensure your application is valid and complete. 

Step one – Start consultation

You, as the applicant, are responsible for consulting with your neighbouring premises, businesses and neighbours.  To do this you need to display a public notice at the premises (a public notice template can be found below in the downloads section), on the day you submit the application, to make the public aware of the changes you are proposing and provide them with an opportunity to feedback any comments or concerns they may have. It must be visible at the premises and easily read by all members of the public and not just customers of the establishment.

The notice must remain in place for the seven-day period (5 working days) of consultation (beginning the day after the day you submit your application).  When counting working days, public holidays are not included.

You must take a photo of the notice once it has been displayed as you will need this for Step three.

Applicants are encouraged to speak to neighbouring businesses and occupiers prior to submitting any application. Please use the frontage consent form, (which can be found in the download section below) to capture any comments and feedback.

You must email any completed forms you receive back, or any comments made to you by members of the public to as evidence of your consultation. Please do this as soon as you receive them, making sure you put Pavement Licence Consultation in the subject line of the email.

Step two - Make your application

Complete the application form, we will only accept applications made online, that are fully completed and where all necessary supporting documentation required has been attached and sent with the application form. Once you have e-mailed us and sent ALL your supporting evidence you will receive an acknowledgement confirming acceptance of the application. (A photo of your notice displayed at the premises should be sent to the licensing mailbox only when you have received our acknowledgement that the application is complete and can be processed).

There is currently no application fee for this type of licence.

Step three – Send your supporting evidence

Once you have completed your application you must also supply all your supporting evidence, this must accompany the application form.

However, before sending your supporting evidence, you must have all the following proofs ready:

If you do not supply sufficient evidence this may impact on the success of your application

Evidence Requirements

You, as the applicant, are responsible for supplying ALL the evidence needed to support your application.

You will need to provide the following when you make an application:

Proof of your Insurance cover

This must show that you have a current certificate of public liability insurance with a minimum of £5 million cover.  This could be sight of your insurance policy or certificate for example.

Proof of Consultation

Photograph of the public notice displayed at your premises.

Copies or photographs of the completed frontage consent forms

Location Plan

This must be at least A4 size but can be included as part of your larger site plan

Suggested scales 1:1250/1:500

This must clearly outline the premises and location of the proposed outdoor seating in the Pavement Licence Area (PLA)

Site Plan

Suggested scales 1:1250/1:100

The plan must include the following:

  • Access Points
  • Building Lines
  • Boundaries
  • Kerbs
  • Dimensions of proposed seating area in the PLA
  • Table and Chair arrangements in the PLA
  • Other non-street furniture items layout for example, heaters, signage in the PLA
  • Plan and elevations (1:50) of barriers/enclosure of PLA

 Full details should be provided in respect of the following:

 Street furniture, non-street furniture and barriers

  • Dimensions
  • Colour
  • What they are made of
  • New or used

 Relevant other licences held

  • Copies or photos of the relevant licences held for example alcohol, premises licence, and more
  • Diagrams, photos or manufacturers technical specifications would be a good way of demonstrating this
Step four - Outcome (Decision made)

Once the Council has received all of the above and the initial seven-day period of consultation has passed, we will use these to assess your suitability to be issued with a Pavement Licence. 

The determination period, starting the day after the consultation, can take up to a further seven days, which includes making your licence.  

If the Council has not made a decision by the end of the seven-day determination period the law states there the Pavement Licence will deem to be granted.

Pavement Licences granted will cover the period requested on the application or as determined by the Council but will expire no later than 30 September 2022.

You will be advised of the Council’s decision by email, using the email address on your application. The email will include a formal decision letter and your licence (if applicable).

If your application is unsuccessful, the reasons for this will be in your decision letter.

A link to the pavement licence guidance can be found in the external links section below.

Last updated 21 September 2023
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