Temporary pavement licences
Useful information and FAQs
Although many hospitality businesses remain closed, many are planning for when the restrictions are eased, and they are able to reopen. We recognise that street cafes (tables and chairs) outside premises, on paved or pedestrianised areas that are public highway, may assist with accommodating customers while following social distancing guidelines.
This is a streamlined process to allow businesses to secure these licences in time for the summer. This process is designed to support businesses to operate safely while social distancing measures remain in place.
What is a pavement licence?
A pavement licence is a licence granted by Wiltshire Council which allows the licence-holder to place removable furniture over certain highways adjacent to the premises.
Who can apply for a pavement licence?
Businesses that are eligible include: public houses, cafes, bars, restaurants, snack bars, coffee shops and ice cream parlours.
Do I need to apply for planning permission?
No. Once a licence is granted, or deemed to be granted, the applicant will also benefit from deemed planning permission to use the land for anything done pursuant to the licence while the licence is valid.
What furniture is permitted?
Counters or stalls for selling or serving food or drink, tables, chairs, benches or other forms of seating, umbrellas, barriers, and other articles used in connection with the outdoor consumption of food or drink.
What is the cost of obtaining a pavement licence?
There is no fee associated with this temporary licence; it is free.
What is the process for applying for a pavement licence?
Download the application form below:
Once complete, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How long will my application take to process?
There is a statutory notice period of 10 working days, during which time we will consult with affected parties following which objections may be lodged. It is the applicant's responsibility to resolve any objections to the council's satisfaction.
How long are pavement licences valid for?
Wiltshire Council will grant licences for 12 months, or more, unless there are good reasons for granting a licence for a shorter period such as plans for future changes in use of road space.
Can Wiltshire Council impose conditions on my licence?
Yes, the council may impose certain conditions. Conditions might, for example, limit the maximum number of chairs and tables, size of area, or type of furniture, time and days of operation.
Can Wiltshire Council revoke my pavement licence?
Wiltshire Council may revoke a licence in the following circumstances:
- 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) or any unauthorised increase in the licensed area as agreed with the council;
- 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.
Do I need to carry out a risk assessment?
Yes, the applicant must undertake a suitable and sufficient 'Covid Secure' risk assessment. Failure to complete a risk assessment, which takes account COVID-19 or completing a risk assessment, could constitute a breach of health and safety law and will negate these conditions and a licence will not be granted.
If I'm selling alcohol will my existing licence be acceptable?
Check to see which activities are covered by your existing licence. If Off-Sales of alcohol are authorised, then consumption of alcohol can take place within this area. If you have On-Sales only, then The Business and Planning Bill (when enacted) will authorise temporary Off-Sales for the same hours as your On-Sales. Be mindful that the licence conditions and the licensing objectives are still relevant.
If I intend to start selling alcohol in the outside area, will I need a specific licence over and above the pavement licence?
Check the areas that are covered for On-Sales of alcohol on the premises licence plans. If the area is not included, then you are not authorised to sell from this area. You can offer table service for these outside areas and supply the alcohol from within the licensed premises (as Off-Sales). You can apply to vary your licence to include this area as a point of sale. Contact email@example.com for further information.
Where can I place my tables and chairs?
Applications will normally only be considered for areas immediately adjoining or opposite the frontage of permanent premises (unless previously authorised). Tables and chairs may be sited on the public highway (paved or pedestrianised areas) and are authorised by the granting of a licence for the agreed period of time.
Do I need a licence for placing out table and chairs behind my business or on private land?
Seated areas that are sited on privately owned land or to the rear of buildings or other courtyard areas do not require a pavement licence.
I have an existing pavement licence - can I extend the seating area?
Each application will be considered on a case by case basis but if your request to extend can be safely accommodated in line with Covid Secure measures. In addition, any extension to any existing seating area will not be considered if it impedes on pedestrian safe passage or affects traffic management.
What space considerations will I need to put in place?
- Allow a minimum of 2m width of unobstructed footway must remain available to passing pedestrians
- Allow those with sight and mobility impairments to pass by safely without having to step into the road
- Allow space for wheelchair and pram access
- Allow access for emergency services and others who may require access
- Keep all emergency exits and routes clear
Please note: all layout options are subject to Wiltshire Council approval.
Do I need to place out barriers around my seating?
A physical barrier may be needed either end of the areas of tables and chairs to serve as a guide to the visually impaired. Chairs and tables must be kept within the confines of the barrier. Please note: barriers must be removable at all times and not permanently fixed to the ground.
Can I utilise cooking appliances and put on live cooking demonstrations?
Other activities or events that may draw additional crowds are not permitted and may require street trading consent or further permission from the council.
Can I put out patio heaters?
No other items are permitted - this includes patio heaters. Designs for all items must be agreed with the council, so please ensure you send us details of proposed furniture and await our agreement before purchasing anything.
Am I responsible for cleaning the licensed area?
The licensed area must be kept clean and litter free by the licensee who should ensure that litter does not stray onto neighbouring areas. Regular litter picking of the area, and if necessary the wider street, must be carried out to ensure this. Regular table clearance should be carried out to prevent litter. Litter bins must be provided and should be emptied on a regular basis.
Note: there will also be additional cleansing conditions linked to your COVID secure risk assessment, which will need to be conducted.
Will I have to remove my tables and chairs at short notice?
This licence does not imply an exclusive right to the area and others may have rights over it for events, maintenance, repairs etc. In particular, utility providers, e.g. gas water, electricity, have rights under legislation. The licensed area may have to be removed while repairs are being carried out. There will be no compensation in these circumstances.
In addition, licence holders may be requested to remove the furniture when the area is closed for community events or regular weekly markets and there will be no compensation in this circumstance.
What type of seating / tables can I use?
Good quality seating and tables are expected. A mixture of furniture is not recommended. The materials and colours should not be too bright, garish or overly reflective. Tables should be of a design to permit wheelchair use (picnic-type benches are not suitable for people with disabilities).
Please note: plastic garden furniture or picnic benches will not be permitted.
At the end of trading, can I leave my equipment in the licensed area?
Nothing must be stored on the highway outside of the times specified on the licence, or when the premises are closed.
Can I use parasols?
The use of parasols, if proposed, should be considered as part of the overall design along with their locations, material and colour. These should be positioned so they cannot overhang the licensed area when opened as this could cause danger to passing pedestrians. They must be able to withstand moderate wind and be quickly lowered or removed in high wind.
Can I advertise my business?
You must check with Wiltshire Council Highways to find out if you need permission to advertise on street furniture, barriers, or parasols.
Where can I find COVID-19 guidance on keeping staff and customers safe?
Please see government advice on Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.
Do I have to take the details of customers that sit outside?
Please encourage customers and visitors to share their details in such a way as to protect their data to support NHS Test and Trace and advise them that this information will only be used where necessary to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Please see the government advice on Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace.
Where can I get information to support smokers wanting to quit?
Information to support smokers wanting to quit can be found on Smokefree Wiltshire.