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Home > News > Re-opening of the hospitality industry: do you have a pavement license?

Re-opening of the hospitality industry: do you have a pavement license?

25 March 2021 | Melissa Toney

Specialist licensing solicitor, Melissa Toney, walks us through the importance of pavement licensing following the government’s update on the 22nd of February in regards to the re-opening of restaurants and pubs for outdoor eating and drinking from the 12th April.

What is a pavement license?

A pavement license allows you to place outdoor furniture over certain ‘highways’ (e.g., paths, streets or roads) outside or next to your premises.

It is necessary to check that the area you want to place outdoor furniture is actually on a highway as opposed to another private property, as that is what really determines if you need permission from the Authority.

This process is currently being streamlined to get hospitality businesses ready in time for the 12th of April and the summer. This way businesses such as pubs, restaurants, and cafes can operate safely whilst still adhering to the social distancing measures set out by the Government on the 22nd of February 2021.

If you are granted your pavement license “clear access routes on the highway will need to be maintained, taking into account the needs of all users, including disabled people.”

Who is eligible for a pavement license?

GOV.UK has stated that businesses which use their premises to serve food or drink (on or off premises) can apply for a pavement license. This includes businesses such as:

  • Pubs and restaurants
  • Cafes
  • Snack bars
  • Coffee shops
  • Ice Cream Parlours

The pavement license allows businesses to place furniture on the ‘highway’ to serve or sell food and drink.

What counts as outdoor furniture?

Outdoor furniture that is acceptable includes:

  • Counters or stalls for selling food and drink;
  • Tables, counters, or shelves where food and drink can be placed;
  • Chairs, benches, or other forms of seating; and
  • Umbrellas, barriers, heaters, and other items used for outdoor dining.

However, all furniture must be removeable and be able to be moved easily and stored away in the evening.

How much are pavement license applications?

Fees differ per area but are capped at a maximum of £100, so it is worth checking your local areas GOV pages.

It is important to note that you cannot place furniture outside of your premises without a pavement license. To serve alcohol or food outside you will need to apply for an alcohol license and other regulatory licenses.

Your local authority will specify to you how long your license will be valid for.

How will I be assessed?

The main priority for the Local Authorities is public safety. They will therefore be considering aspects such as social distancing, access for people with disabilities, available footpath space (after tables and chairs are placed outside is there still room for people to pass by), risks in relation to antisocial behaviour, the impact on other businesses and your ability to be able to clean and maintain the area.

Specialist licensing solicitors

If you would like further advice on applying for a pavement license or a discussion to assist you in maximising your business income on re-opening, our specialist licensing solicitors are on hand to help. Please call 0117 906 9400 or email to find out more.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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