Pavement licence

What is a pavement licence

A pavement licence is a licence granted by the local authority, or deemed to have been granted, which allows the licence-holder to place removable furniture over certain highways adjacent to the premises in relation to which the application was made, for certain purposes. The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 makes permanent the provisions set out in the Business and Planning Act (BPA) 2020 that streamlined the process to allow businesses to secure these licences quickly.

Licences that are deemed to have been granted, should remain in place for such period as the local authority may specify in the licence, with a maximum limit of two years. Existing licences with no end date are extended to 2 years from the commencement date. Where a pavement licence is granted, clear access routes on the highway will need to be maintained, taking into account the needs of all users, including disabled people.

What is the purpose of the new process for pavement licences?

The Business and Planning Act process provides a streamlined and cheaper route for businesses such as cafés, restaurants, and bars to secure a licence to place furniture on the highway. This will provide much needed income for businesses and protect as many hospitality jobs as possible, particularly during times of increasing living costs.

What does the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act do to the pavement licensing regime?

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act makes permanent the pavement licensing regime under the Business and Planning Act 2020, with a number of changes. The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act introduces a standard fee cap for both new and renewals of licences as well as increased consultation and determination periods, lengthens the maximum duration of licences and provides local authorities with new powers to remove unlicenced furniture.

Each application will be treated on its own merits. Bassetlaw District Council (the Council) reserves the right to refuse applications or to apply such conditions as it thinks fit. Applicants should be aware that it will be necessary to display a notice of application for 14 days starting on the day after the application is accepted by the Council.

  1. Sole Purpose of the Licence: A Pavement Licence permits the business to use furniture placed on the highway to sell or serve food or drink and/or allow it to be used by people for consumption of food and drink supplied from, or in connection with the use of the premises. The licence will expire no later than 2 years from the date the licence is granted.
  1. Production of the Licence on Demand: The Pavement Licence shall be displayed in the window of the premises to which it relates. Any failure to do so may result in an Authorised Officer requiring the removal of the items from the highway.
  1. Site Constraints: Any street furniture placed within the permitted area of the Pavement Licence shall not obscure sight lines for any highway user, interfere with drainage, or, conflict with dropped crossings, etc.
  1. Defining the Pavement Licence Area: The Council (or its Agent) may, if necessary, discreetly mark on the highway the extent of the Pavement Licence area to ensure its accurate location.
  1. Street Furniture: The Pavement Licence permits the following items to be placed on the permitted area of the highway:
  • Counters or stalls for selling or serving food or drink
  • Tables, counters, or shelves on which food and drink can be place.
  • Chairs, benches or other forms of seating, and:
  • Umbrellas, barriers, heaters, and other articles used in connection with the outdoor consumption of food or drink
  • This furniture is required to be removable and related to the serving, sale and consumption of food or drink. Local authorities should be pragmatic when determining what is ‘removable’ but in principle this means it is not a permanent fixed structure, is easily moveable, and stored away at night.

The specification of all furniture must be approved by the Council or its Agent.

  1. Barriers: A barrier approximately 1.0 m high and incorporating a tapping rail not more than 150 mm above the ground must be provided to guide persons safely around the Pavement Café. Barriers must not be permanently fixed to the ground within the public highway. Barriers must be designed to resist collapse or movement (e.g. by being blown over or accidentally stumbled into). The specification of barriers must be approved by the Council or its Agent. The barriers & seating should be arranged to prevent chairs or personal affects (e.g. shopping) escaping the area of the café and encroaching into the walked highway.
  1. Emergency Exits: All emergency exits and routes from buildings must be kept clear.
  1. Hours of operation: The maximum allowed will be between the hours of 09.00 and 23.00 hours and as stated on the Pavement Licence.
  1. Removal of Furniture: All street furniture and all barriers must be removed from the highway at the end of the working day and shall not be stored within the highway.
  1. Other Licences/Permissions: None
  1. Obstruction/Danger/Nuisance on the Highway: The Licence Holder shall not cause any obstruction or danger to people using the highway. The Licence Holder is responsible for the conduct of people within the area of the Pavement Licence, allowing rowdy or unruly behaviour may lead to the revocation of the licence.
  1. Noise/Nuisance Control: Noise, disturbance, smells or litter which cause a nuisance to the owners or occupiers of any adjacent premises or to members of the public are not acceptable. Amplified music will not be permitted.
  1. Surface of the Highway: The Licence Holder shall not undertake any alterations to the highway surface.
  1. Cleansing of the Area: The Licence Holder will ensure that the area permitted by way of the Pavement Licence is maintained in a clean and tidy condition and they shall take all necessary precautions to prevent the highway from becoming littered as a result of their trading activities.
  1. Liability Insurance / Indemnity: The Licence Holder is required to indemnify the Council and it’s agents against all losses and claims for injuries (including death illness and disease) or damage to any person or property whatsoever, and, against all claims, demands, proceedings, damages, costs, charges and expenses whatsoever arising directly or indirectly out of the granting of this Licence. To this end, the applicant must obtain and maintain third party public liability insurance which offers indemnity to principle. The level of cover must be to a minimum value of £5,000,000 for any one incident. Evidence of valid insurance for the pavement café area must be made available when demanded by a duly authorised officer or agent of the Council. The Licence Holder will be required to produce proof of valid insurance to the Council, or its agent, on an annual basis.
  1. Consumption of Alcohol: The Pavement Licence does not give, or imply any permission to supply intoxicating liquor in the street, such consumption must not take place beyond the perimeter of the designated area of the Pavement Licence.
  1. Advertising: Advertising alcoholic or smoking products, or their manufacturers, will not be permitted on barriers or furniture associated with the Pavement Licence. Logos / legends on barriers etc. may only relate to the premises or business and will require the approval of the Council, or it’s Agent. No advertising shall be displayed that may cause offence or alarm to any person.
  1. Suspension of Permission: If so requested in an emergency by a Police Officer, Fire Brigade Officer, Ambulance Attendant or Statutory Undertaker, or by the Highway Authority for the purpose of maintaining the highway, the Licensee shall remove the permitted street furniture from the highway.
  1. The Pavement Licence is non-transferable: The Licence is not a transferable asset which might be sold with a change in ownership of the premises.

  2. Enforcement - In what circumstances can the local authority enforce or revoke a licence?

    If a condition imposed on a licence (either by the local authority or nationally) is breached, the local authority will be able to issue a notice requiring the breach to be remedied. If the licence-holder fails to do so, the local authority may amend the licence, with the consent of the licence-holder, revoke the licence or itself take steps to remedy the breach and can take action to recover any costs of so doing. Local authorities are encouraged to regularly review licences and enforce any breaches.

    The authority may revoke a licence, or amend it with the consent of the licence holder, in the following circumstances:

    1. If it considers that the highway is no longer suitable for the use as granted by or deemed to be granted by the licence. For example, the licenced area (or road adjacent) is no longer to be pedestrianised.
    2. Or if there is evidence that:
      • there are risks to public health or safety – for example where it comes to light that there are significant security risks which have not been sufficiently considered, or addressed in a proportionate fashion (this should be reassessed as necessary, particularly in the event of changes to the terrorism threat level);
      • this use of the highway is causing an unacceptable obstruction, breaching the no-obstruction condition – for example, the arrangement of street furniture prevents disabled people, older people or wheelchair users to pass along the highway or have normal access to the premises alongside the highway; or
      • the use is causing, or risks causing, anti-social behaviour or public nuisance – for example, the use is increasing the amount of noise generated late at night and litter is not being cleaned up.

The local authority may revoke a licence in the following circumstances:

  1. For a breach of condition, (whether a remediation notice has been issued or not) or
  2. It comes to light that the applicant provided false or misleading statements in their application – for example they are operating a stall selling hot food and had applied for tables and chairs on which drinks could be consumed; or
  3. The applicant did not comply with the requirement to affix the notice to notify the public of the application or secure that the notice remains in place until the end of the public consultation period.

It is good practice for local authorities to give reasons where these powers are used.

  1. Unpublished Conditions: The Council may impose reasonable conditions whether or not they are published upfront. There is an expectation these will be supported by a clear justification for the need of a condition which is in addition to any published local conditions. Conditions might, for example, limit the maximum number of chairs and tables, or type of furniture, time and days of operation with justification for this.

National Condition (applicable to all pavement licences)

How can the local authority and applicant consider the needs of disabled people when considering whether the requirements of the no-obstruction condition are met?

The no-obstruction condition is a condition that the licence must not have the effects set out in section 3(6) of the 2020 Act. When determining whether furniture constitutes an unacceptable obstruction in light of the no-obstruction condition, the provisions require that local authorities consider the needs of disabled people. In order to do this, authorities should consider the following matters when setting conditions, determining applications (in the absence of local conditions), and when considering whether enforcement action is required:

  • Section 3.2 of Inclusive Mobility - gives advice on the needs of particular pavement users sets out a range of recommended widths which would be required, depending on the needs of particular pavement users. Section 4.2 of Inclusive Mobility sets out that footways and footpaths should be as wide as practicable, but under normal circumstances a width of 2000 mm is the minimum that should be provided, as this allows enough space for two wheelchair users to pass, even if they are using larger electric mobility scooters. Local authorities should take a proportionate approach if this is not feasible due to physical constraints. A minimum width of 1500 mm could be regarded as the minimum acceptable distance between two obstacles under most circumstances, as this should enable a wheelchair user and a walker to pass each other.
  • any need for a barrier to separate furniture from the rest of the footway so that the visually impaired can navigate around the furniture, such as colour contrast and a tap rail for long cane users. In some cases, it may be appropriate to use one or more rigid, removable objects to demarcate the area to which the licence applies, for example wooden tubs of flowers. However, as these are not necessary for the consumption of food, this will need to be balanced to ensure any barriers do not inhibit other street users, such as the mobility impaired, as such barriers may create a further obstacle in the highway. Advertising boards are not included in the definition of furniture within the pavement licensing regime, therefore, should not be used as a barrier;
  • any conflict of street furniture with the principal lines of pedestrian movement particularly for disabled people, older people and those with mobility needs. The positioning of furniture should not discourage pedestrians from using the footway or force pedestrians into the highway. The available route must be entirely clear for pedestrians to use and not be impeded with tables and chairs;
  • the cumulative impact of multiple pavement licences in proximity to each other and if there is specific evidence that this may create a build-up furniture in a particular area and potentially cause obstruction on the footway for certain pavement users, such as disabled people;
  • so that where possible furniture is non-reflective and of reasonable substance such that it cannot easily be pushed or blown over by the wind, and thereby cause obstruction – for example, the local authority could refuse the use of plastic patio furniture, unless measures have been taken to ensure it is kept in place.

Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 places duties on local authorities, to have due regard to: the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not and foster or encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t.


Last Updated on Wednesday, May 29, 2024