Skip to main contentAccessibility Statement

Café pavement licence

Pavement Licence Scheme


The Business and Planning Act 2020 came into force 22 July 2020 and is intended to help hard hit businesses sectors get back to work safely and quickly.

The Act has introduced a streamlined route for businesses such as restaurants, pubs and cafés to secure permission to place furniture on the highway and make it easier for them to serve food and drink for consumption off the premises. This is known as a Pavement Licence.

For full details on the legislation and eligibility please refer to the legislation.

Eligibility Criteria

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
  • cafés
  • bars
  • restaurants
  • snack bars
  • coffee shops
  • ice cream parlours
  • businesses where such uses form an ancillary aspect of another use, for example supermarkets, or entertainment venues which sell food and drink

It is important to note the grant of a pavement licence only permits the placing of furniture 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.

Other regulatory frameworks still applies for alcohol sales and food registration but if you have a licence to serve alcohol on-premises, temporary amendments to the Licencing Act 2003, through the Business and Planning Act 2020, will allow you to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises without needing to apply for a variation of your licence.

Application procedure

The act requires us to have regard to the needs of disabled people when considering whether to grant a pavement licence. The Act also requires reasonable provision to be made for outside seating where smoking is not permitted.

Applications are subject to public consultation and we must take into account representations received from members of the public during the public consultation period which is the period of 7 days starting the day after a valid application is submitted (excluding public holidays). The following responsible authorities will be sent a full copy of your application and may contact both us and the applicant directly with any concerns:

  • highways authority
  • police
  • planning authority

Licence holders in West Northamptonshire will be required to comply with local conditions and any other reasonable conditions which may be imposed on granting the licence.

If we determine an application before the end of the determination period (which is 7 days, beginning with the first day after the end of the public consultation period, excluding public holidays) we can specify the duration of the licence. If a licence is ‘deemed’ granted because we do not make a decision in the period, then the licence will be valid for a year. However, if a licence deemed granted does not meet national or local conditions it may be revoked at any time on the grounds that it has breached the conditions. A licence granted or deemed to be granted will not be valid beyond 30 September 2021 as this has been extended to 2023 and we are expecting them to be come a permanent licence.



Before you start you will need to check that you have

  • read the licensing privacy notice
  • photo ID
  • Certificate of Public Liability Insurance between the value of £2 million and £5 million
  • photo of furniture to be sited
  • map or photo showing location of where furniture will be sited
  • a site notice will be emailed to you where applicable upon submission of your application


The business must:

  • comply with government guidance on social distancing
  • comply with government guidance on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
  • have undertaken appropriate risk assessments

Consumer complaint

If you are not happy with the service you should complain to the person who first dealt with the matter. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive at this stage you should then complain to the Licensing Manager. Should you need to take your complaint further please follow the Corporate Complaints procedure.

Last updated 16 May 2024