Tables and chairs on the pavement

Many pubs, restaurants, wine bars and cafés may wish to have seating and tables outside their premises for the use of their customers. This page gives information on how to apply for a licence to place tables and chairs on the highway.

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District and borough council links

The Business and Planning Act was introduced in June 2020, and gives temporary responsibility for pavement licences to the local district and borough councils. The Act has been extended, and the district and borough councils can continue to issue licences.

Please see the links below for the relevant webpages for each local council:

Do I require a licence for placing tables or chairs outside my premises?

If you wish to place tables or chairs on the pavement and it is part of the public highway, you will need a licence.

This is to ensure that adequate space is available for the safe and free movement of all highway users, taking into account social distancing, and that consideration is given to possible noise disturbance for local residents and nearby shops and offices.

As of July 2020, your local district or borough council are temporarily responsible for issuing the licence. Surrey County Council will be consulted by the local district or borough council as part of the application process.

To view the full details of the new regulations, please see the Business and Planning Bill on the parliament website (dated 25 June 2020).

What are the terms and conditions?

Please read the guidance for permission to run a pavement café page.

Please note that this guidance has been set by Surrey County Councils for licences issued prior to July 2020. Your local district or borough council may impose different terms and conditions as part of the licence, and you are advised to check on their website.

How long is the licence valid for?

The length of the licence will be set by the local district or borough council.

The government has provided guidance around the length of time that a licence should be issued for, however the lengths may vary depending on local factors.

How do I apply for a licence?

Contact your local district and borough council for further information and to make an application.

How much does the licence cost?

The most recent government guidance states that applications will cost a maximum of £100. The exact licence costs may vary between the district and borough councils who issue the licence.

Please check your local district and borough council's website for exact details.

What documentation is required?

You will need to provide the following information as part of your application. Please check your local district and borough council's website for exact details, as these may vary between different councils.

  • Public Liability Insurance for a minimum of £10 million in respect of any one incident.
  • Details of the furniture you intend to use.
  • A plan showing any boundary treatment, including planters.

What if I have any queries, concerns or complaints?

If you have queries, concerns or complaints about the licence, please contact your local district and borough Council.

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