Toggle menu

Pavement Cafe Licence

The Business and Planning Act 2020 has been enacted by the Government in an attempt to restart the British economy due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Act has introduced a range of new measures to help businesses to quickly adjust and adapt to the 'new normal'. The Act has introduced a new Pavement Cafe Licensing regime.

Licence to Put Tables and Chairs on the Street or Pavement

If a pub, bar, restaurant or cafe would like to have seating for customers outside of their property and on a public highway then they must have a licence to do so. A public highway includes roads, pavements and verges.

Why a Licence is Needed?

A licence is required to make sure that enough space is available for the safe and free movement of all people using the highway. It also considers any possible noise disturbance for nearby residents and business owners.


The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published new guidance for pavement licences to support efforts for the re‐opening of hospitality businesses 4 July 2020. The key changes are:

·       Fees charged to process applications are capped at £100.

·       The requirement to apply for "change of land use" planning permission ahead of applying for a pavement licence has been removed.

·       The Licensing Authority has 10 working days to determine the pavement licence application. The licence is assumed to be granted if not determined within this period.

·       The onus is placed on the licence applicant to advertise the request and evidence consultation with neighbours rather than being on the Council to undertake this function.

This guidance only applies until 30 September 2021 unless superseded by further guidance.

Determining a Licence Application

Pavement licences are considered on a case‐by‐case basis and will be determined based on four criteria:

·       Clear routes of access ‐ it is a condition that clear routes of access along the highway must be maintained, taking into account the needs of disabled people, and the recommended minimum footway widths and distances required for access by mobility impaired and visually impaired people.

·       Public health and safety - for example, ensuring that the use conforms with latest guidance on social distancing and any reasonable crowd management measures needed as a result of a licence being granted and businesses reopening.

·       Public amenity - will the proposed use create nuisance to neighbouring occupiers by generating anti‐social behaviour and litter; and

·       Accessibility - taking a proportionate approach to considering the nature of the site in relation to which the application for a licence is made, its surroundings and its users, taking account of:

 o   any other temporary measures in place that may be relevant to the proposal, for example, the reallocation of road space. This could include pedestrianised streets and any subsequent reallocation of this space to vehicles.

o   whether there are other permanent street furniture or structures in place on the footway that already reduce access.

o   the recommended minimum footway widths and distances required for access by mobility impaired and visually impaired people.

o   other users of the space, for example if there are high levels of pedestrian or cycle movements.

How to Apply

This Council has delegated this new licensing function to Lincolnshire County Council. With this in mind anybody wishing to apply for a Pavement Cafe Licence is directed to Lincolnshire County Council. The County Council has a webpage for this licensing function:

Further Information

·       A licence is only required if you are seeking to place tables and chairs on the public highway. A licence is not required if tables and chairs are to be located in a private area that is part of the pub / café (for example a beer garden).

·       Tables and chairs licences are valid for a period of 12 months. However, a licence granted will not be valid beyond 30 September 2021. Any application after 30 September 2020 will only be valid to 30 September 2021 and not for a full year.

·       Fees are non‐refundable.

·       All furniture in the area covered by the licence must be removed from the pavement and stored within the premises when not in use.

·       Fees are only payable for successful applications and will be payable on determination of your application.

·       You will need to provide a copy of your current public liability insurance certificate with a minimum value of £5million.

·       Granting of a licence includes deemed consent for planning permission until 30 September 2021.

·       This revised process only applies to licence applications made on or after Monday 29 June 2020.

View current applications

Information regarding current licence applications can be viewed at: