Street trading licences

Temporary Pavement Licences

Temporary permission to place tables and chairs on the public highway

The Business and Planning Act 2020 has introduced a new, temporary, fast-track process for businesses to obtain a pavement licence for the placement of furniture, such as tables and chairs, on the highway (including footpaths and pavements) adjacent to their premises. This permission can only be used for the purpose of selling or consuming food and drink in connection with the activity of the main premises, and licences will expire on 30 September 2021. This will help businesses to maximise their ability to trade, whilst adhering to social-distancing guidelines.


The permission will only be granted if you are able to meet certain conditions set out nationally. The grant of a temporary licence must not: 

  • Prevent the normal passage of vehicles and pedestrians. A minimum passing width for pedestrians of 1.5m must be maintained at all times
  • Prevent statutory undertakers (such as a water supplier or gas and electricity providers) or the communications networks from having access to any of their equipment or facilities
  • You must also make reasonable provision for seating where smoking is not permitted.

There will also be conditions imposed at a local level to ensure that the granting of your temporary permit does not cause problems for other businesses or persons in the vicinity and that the placing of the furniture does not cause an obstruction or pose a danger. 

How to apply 

To apply for a licence, you will need to complete the online application form and submit it along with supporting documents including a site plan, evidence of public liability insurance cover for at least £5,000,000 and details of the objects you wish to place on the highway.

Pavement licence application form


There is a fee of £100 payable at the time you submit your application.

What you have to do next

On the same day that you make the application, you are required to advertise your application by fixing a notice of the application to the premises so that it is visible to, and can be read easily by, members of the public who are not on the premises. You also have to make sure the notice remains in place until the end of the public consultation period, which means the period of seven days beginning with the day after you make the application. A template will be emailed to you with the confirmation that your application has been accepted, however you can find the template notice for this process on our application forms page.


All applications are subject to a seven-day public consultation period, starting the day after the day the application is made. We then have a further seven days to make a decision on the application. If we fail to make a decision within this time frame, the licence is ‘deemed granted’. There is no right of appeal if the application is refused.

Current applications

When businesses apply for temporary pavement licences the application will appear below whilst they are under consultation.

Existing tables and chairs permits


Premises with tables and chairs permits issued under the Highways Act 1980 are still valid. You may wish to make use of the new fast track application process under the Business and Planning Act 2020 to extend or add new areas for tables and chairs or other furniture. In theory the new licences can be used instead of the Highways Act licences issued prior to the new legislation.  

However, if you intend to surrender  your existing tables and chairs permit, or not renew it when it expires, you need to be aware that when the temporary pavement licence period ends in September 2021, you will need to make an application for a new Highways Act permit (not apply for a renewal). This process may require new planning permission and will be a longer and potentially more expensive process than retaining your existing permit and renewing it as normal.