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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 near by residents and business owners.

COVID-19 information

On 25 June 2020 the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published new draft guidance for pavement licences (outdoor seating proposal) to support efforts for the re-opening of hospitality businesses from 4 July 2020.

The key changes proposed 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 license has been removed.
  • the issuing authority has 10 working days to determine the licence application. The licence is assumed to be granted if not determined within this period.
  • onus on applicant to advertise the request and evidence consultation with neighbours rather than being on the Council. Download the Template site notice (Word, 25KB) .
  • this guidance only applies until 30 September 2021 unless superseded by further guidance

Application decisions

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 uses conform 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:
    • 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.
    • whether there are other permanent street furniture or structures in place on the footway that already reduce access.
    • the recommended minimum footway widths and distances required for access by mobility impaired and visually impaired people.
    • other users of the space, for example if there are high levels of pedestrian or cycle movements.

Cost of a pavement licence

The fee for a pavement licence is currently £100 for each permission and £100 per annual renewal. Payment of the fees will need to be made once the application has been reviewed and approved.

How to apply and renew

To apply for or renew a pavement licence complete the Application form to place furniture in the highway (Word, 19KB)  and return it by email to hway_assets@nelincs.gov.uk.

Please include ‘Pavement licence’ and the name of your business in the subject of the email.

Provide as much information with your application as possible including:

  • a plan and photos of the exterior of your premises that clearly show the area you are requesting a licence for
  • photos showing any street furniture (lamp posts, railings, benches, BT cabinets etc) that are within close proximity to your premises.
  • details of the type of amenities (tables, chairs, barriers etc) you are intending to use
  • a copy of your current public liability insurance certificate with a minimum value of £5million
  • any other maps, plans or photographs which may assist us to determine your application

To assist us to make a decision on your application as quickly as possible provide all the information listed on the application form. Failure to do so may delay a decision on your application.

If you need information on road closures go to Traffic regulation orders. If you are planning an event and need a temporary events licence read Organising an event.

Guidance notes

  • 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 or 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.
  • Unless otherwise stated, licences are granted for the period between 9am to 9pm in Cleethorpes town centre and 9am to 8pm in Grimsby town centre.
  • This revised process only applies to licence applications made on or after Monday 29 June 2020. If you have application that is awaiting processing from before Monday 29 June 2020 you may wish to withdraw your previous application and apply under the new process, alternatively your application will be processed in line with the previous guidance. For more information please email us at hway_assets@nelincs.gov.uk.

Applications received

These notices are not accessible. If you require this information in another format please email hway_assets@nelincs.gov.uk.


Related content

Traffic regulation orders

Organising an event

Contact details

Highway Assets, ENGIE, New Oxford House, George Street, Grimsby, DN31 1HB

Email: hway_assets@nelincs.gov.uk