With summer here (at least officially), many of your customers might want to sit outside your pub while enjoying a meal or drink.
However, if you wish to place tables and chairs on the public , highway, you probably require permission from your local council. Here are some points to bear in mind:
■ Who owns the outside area? If you or a private landlord own the land outside the premises, you may not need a pavement licence, whereas if the outside area is council adopted land and, therefore, maintained by the council (the council’s highways department maintains a list of adopted land), you will need to apply for a licence to put tables and chairs on this area, commonly known as a tables & chairs licence or pavement, street café or highways licence.
■ Is planning permission also required? Certain councils require planning permission for a change of use of the area in question. Check this in advance.
■ Review your premises licence conditions. Make sure there are no conditions that restrict you from having and serving customers outside. If you wish to serve alcohol to customers seated outside, you need to ensure that you have permission for ‘off sales’ of alcohol on your licence or, alternatively, ensure that the outside area is within the licensed area shown on your licence plans. If this is not the case, you will need to apply to vary your premises licence accordingly.
■ If customers are going to be standing only (eg, to smoke) in the outside area then no pavement licence is required. Nonetheless, still check there are no licence conditions or council restrictions (such as a prohibition on consuming alcohol in the general location), which may restrict the use of the area.
■ If a pavement licence is required, submit an application form to the council’s highways department. Application requirements can vary depending on the council, but usually you will need to provide the following:
A) A plan showing the property, building line, kerb line, table layout, points of access and dimensions and width of remaining footpath. Consider whether your furniture will obstruct the highway and think about pedestrians, wheelchairs, prams, emergency vehicles and general vehicle access
B) Trading times and days
C) Evidence of public liability insurance
D) Details of the furniture, barriers, planters, etc., you will use
E) Council fee (variable depending on the council)
F) If your pavement licence is granted, it will be subject to “standard conditions”. It is sensible to check with the council before you submit your application as to the standard set of conditions for operating a pavement licence. You may need to negotiate any particular conditions that do not suit your intended operation
■ The licence is granted at the discretion of the council. Although a notice may be displayed for a set period near your premises, inviting any representations, some councils can take up to 90 days to deal with your application. If the application is refused, the council should give you reasons.
■ If your pavement licence is granted, the licence usually lasts for 12 months. However, some councils grant the licence for a lesser period. The pavement licence is subject to a renewal process and, therefore, it is important you check the renewal date and ensure you renew in advance of the expiry date of your licence.
Pavement licence applications can be complex and often it is worth seeking legal advice if you are unsure.