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What is a pavement licence?

A pavement licence is a licence granted by the local authority (Huntingdonshire District Council), or deemed to have been granted, which allows the licence holder to place removable furniture over certain highways adjacent to the premises, for certain purposes.

The streamlined process remains in place to allow businesses to secure these licences to aid their business recovery. Where they are deemed to have been granted, these licences may remain in place until 30 September 2024.

Premises wishing to apply for permissions can still apply via Cambridgeshire County Council's website.  

Premises wishing to apply for a temporary pavement licence can apply via our online form (there is a £100 charge for this service).

You can find full GOV.UK guidance on their website.

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

This process introduces a streamlined and cheaper route for businesses such as cafes, restaurants and bars to secure a licence to place furniture on the highway. This will support them as part of their business recovery following the pandemic.

What businesses are eligible?

A business which uses (or proposes to use) premises for the sale of food or drink for consumption (on or off the premises) can apply for a licence.

Businesses that are eligible include:

  • public houses

  • cafes

  • bars

  • restaurants

  • snack bars

  • coffee shops and

  • ice cream parlours.

A 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 or drink supplied from, or in connection with the use of the premises. But subject to limitations imposed by other legislative requirements, such as the sale of alcohol.

What furniture can be permitted by a licence?

The furniture which may be used is:

  • counters or stalls for selling or serving food or drink

  • tables, counters or shelves on which food or drink can be placed

  • 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 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

All furniture is required to be removable and not a permanent fixed structure, that is, can be moved easily and stored away outside operating hours or the hours granted by a licence.

No canopies, gazebos etc may be attached to the building itself without permission from the Planning Authority.

Are there any exclusions from this provision?

Yes. Licences can only be granted in respect of highways listed in section 115A(1) Highways Act 1980. Generally, these are footpaths restricted to pedestrians or are roads and places to which vehicle access is restricted or prohibited. Highways maintained by Network Rail or over Crown land are exempt (so a licence cannot be granted).

Do I need planning permission as well as the licence?

No, not for change of use of the land. Once a licence is granted, or deemed to be granted, you will also benefit from deemed planning permission to use the land for anything done pursuant to the licence, while the licence is valid.

Where you envisage any structure is to be attached to the building, or to be in place permanently, you should seek advice from the Planning Authority beforehand.

What information do I need to provide?

Pavement Licence Application Form

Above is a link to complete the online Pavement Licence application (there is a £100 charge for this service). As well as this you will need to submit the documents listed below -  these can be emailed to

  • Public liability insurance

  • A plan of the premises locating it with a red line

  • A plan of the proposed area with clear measurements

  • Confirmation of the right to occupy the premises

  • Photo(s) of the displayed notice either on the window or door of the premises

  • Updated risk assessment to include street furniture and the provision of food and drink.

Please also read the information below.

An application must:

  • specify the premises and the part of the relevant highway to which the application relates

  • specify the purpose (or purposes) for which the furniture will be used which must be to sell or serve food or drink, and/or for use by other people for the consumption of food or drink. In both cases the food or drink must be supplied from, or in connection with, relevant use of the premises

  • specify the days of the week on which and the hours between which it is proposed to have furniture on the highway

  • describe the type of furniture to which the application relates, for example, tables, chairs, and/or stalls

  • contain or be accompanied by evidence of public liability insurance in respect of anything to be done pursuant to the licence as we may require and

  • contain or be accompanied by such other information or material as we will require:

    • a plan showing the location of the premises shown by a red line, so the application site can be clearly identified

    • a plan clearly showing the proposed area covered by the licence in relation to the highway, if not to scale, with measurements clearly shown

    • the proposed duration of the licence (for example, 3 months, 6 months, or a year)

    • confirmation of the right to occupy the premises, such as the lease

    • contact details of the applicant

    • details of the proposed type of furniture and information on the potential siting of it within the area applied

    • evidence that the applicant has met the requirement to give notice of the application (for example a photograph)

    • (if applicable) reference of existing pavement licence currently under consideration by the local authority

    • any other evidence needed to demonstrate how any local and national conditions will be satisfied 

    • an updated risk assessment to include street furniture and the provision of food and drink.

What else will I need to do?

  • Ensure public liability covers you for what you propose to do

  • Display a notice clearly at the premises for a period of 7 days - you can use this site notice template [DOCX, 24Kb].

What will you consider when deciding whether to grant a pavement licence?

We will need to consider a number of factors when determining whether to approve the application. These include the scope for national or local conditions to make it possible to approve an application which would otherwise be unacceptable.

There is a 7-day consultation period required as part of any application. If no objections are received, the licence may be granted and standard conditions [PDF, 0.1MB] will apply. Additional conditions relevant to the site proposed may also apply.

The Secretary of State may publish conditions for pavement licences. This would be in addition to the statutory ‘no obstruction’ condition referred to in 5(4) and 3(6) of the Business and Planning Act 2020, including prevention of access to the highway or prevention of certain services such as electric/gas/telecoms suppliers from accessing any services.

We may attach local conditions subject to pavement licences. When considering our powers in relation to local conditions we will bear in mind the requirements of the Business and Planning Act and seek to impose conditions which have the same effect as the no-obstruction condition.

When setting local conditions and determining applications, we will also consider:

  • 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

  • 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 as set out in Section 3.1 of the Inclusive Mobility Guidance and

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

What are the outcomes of an application?

We will:

  • grant the licence in respect of any or all of the purposes specified in the application or

  • grant the licence for some or all of the part of the highway specified in the application, and impose conditions or

  • refuse the application.

If a decision is not made within a period of 7 days after the public consultation period then the licence will deemed to have been granted by us. In such instances, the licence will deemed to be granted for a year and will be subject to the licence conditions [PDF, 0.1MB].

Can I appeal a decision?

There is no statutory appeal process for these decisions.

What steps should I take to engage with the community?

You will be required to affix a notice [DOCX, 24Kb] to the premises, so it is easily visible and legible to the public on the day you submit the application to us.

The notice must remain in place for the public consultation period, which is the period of 7 days beginning with the day after the day the application is submitted to us.

When counting 'working days', public holidays are not included. We encourage you to keep evidence of this and also request you to send us a copy of the notice in situ.

In what circumstances can you enforce or revoke a licence?

If a condition imposed on a licence (either by us or nationally) is breached, we will be able to issue a notice requiring the breach to be remedied and can take action to cover any costs. We may revoke a licence in the following circumstances:

  1. For breach of condition, (whether or not a remediation notice has been issued) or

  2. Where:

    • there are risks to public health or safety – for example by encouraging users to breach government guidance on social distancing by placing tables and chairs too close together

    • the highway is being obstructed (other than by anything permitted by the licence)

    • there is 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

    • 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

    • the applicant did not comply with the requirement to affix the notice to notify the public for the relevant period.

Condition relating to 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 as set out in Section 3.1 of the Inclusive Mobility Guidance.

Planning considerations

Listed buildings

Businesses should not attach anything to a building/structure that is a listed building without relevant listed building consent as it is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised works to listed buildings. 

The Listed Buildings page has further guidance and information on how to check if your property is a listed building.

Planning permission

The grant of a pavement licence does not grant planning permission for any permanent structures or fixtures to any buildings.

If structures such as gazebos and marquees are intended to be left in situ during the licence period, this may also require a temporary planning permission. 

Please visit the Planning Applications pages for guidance on submitting a planning application and pre-application advice.