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Pavement café licence

Here you can find guidance on pavement cafés and how to apply for a licence.

Temporary pavement licences until 30th September 2024

This lets businesses (like cafés, restaurants and bars) put removable furniture on the pavement next to their premises.

  • To help, the Government has brought in a fast-tracked system.
  • We will decide on an application within 14 days of receipt.
  • There will be a public consultation with relevant parties.

Please note: This licence only allows furniture to be put on a path (the highway). It does not override the requirements to have the correct licence or food registration in place.

Licence conditions

Please note: More conditions can be applied after representations.

Pavement café licence conditions

The licence holder will make sure that:

1.1 A clear pedestrian route is maintained. There must be a clear width of 1.8 metres between the boundaries of the pavement café and the kerb at all times. in a pedestrianised area there must be at least 3.6 metres of clear unobstructed space in front of the café to allow access for emergency vehicles.

1.2 The emergency exits and visibility splays from the adjacent premises are unobstructed.

1.3 In pedestrianised areas where tables and chairs are situated there must be a clearly defined area away from the building which does not impede pedestrians or create a hazard for blind or partially sighted people or people using wheelchairs.

1.4 Where the café is designed with a pedestrian route passing through it then that route should be as straight as possible and free from obstructions.

1.5 The presence of tables and chairs does not discourage pedestrians using the footway.

1.6 Toilet and washing facilities are adequate to accommodate an increase in customers.

1.7 Access is given at any time to the Council, Police, fire and ambulance services, any statutory undertaker or telecommunications code operator or builder's vehicles, hearses and furniture removal vans.

1.8 Space is left between tables and chairs and other items of street furniture giving adequate circulation space to allow access for all users including those in wheelchairs. This may mean reducing the number of tables and chairs.

1.9 Tables and chairs are placed so as not to obstruct drivers' sightlines or obstruct highway signs.

1.10 The pavement café does not adversely affect the architectural or historic character of a listed building or its setting or the conservation area in which it may lie.

1.11 Adequate lighting is provided whenever lighting levels are reduced in order for the pavement café to operate safely. If it is proposed to attach the lighting to the building, consent may be needed if the building is listed.


The licence holder will make sure that:

1.12 A physical barrier of approximately 1m in height is provided to guide persons with disabilities safely around the area. Such barriers must not be permanently fixed to the ground where this is a public highway. Please consult with the Councils Highway section if in any doubt.

1.13 Where the means of enclosure are lattice-like barriers or structures, substantial planters or a combination of both they are attractive and in keeping with the area in which they will be sited. They can be made in timber, metal or plastic but must be stable and sturdy, not contain any protruding parts and be light enough to be removed and stored elsewhere when the café is not operating.

1.14 No A-boards are placed on the highway to advertise the business.

1.15 Post and chain or post and rope barriers are not in use as they are potentially hazardous to pedestrians, particularly the visually impaired and are not considered suitable.

1.16 If planters are in use either to define and contain the site or for decoration, they are made of good quality plastic or glass fibre. Ideally, the combined height of planter and plant/s should be at least 1m.

1.17 Any structures are substantial enough to prevent collapse if accidentally walked or stumbled into. They should have at least two solid horizontal bars or elements, the lower not more than 155mm above the ground (tapping rail) and the second between 800mm and 1000mm above the ground.

1.18 All activities associated with the café are contained within the agreed boundary.

1.19 The storage of furniture, signboards or anything else associated with the business does not occur outside the boundary at any time without the prior written consent of the Head of Customer Services.

1.20 When the area of the pavement café has been agreed a definitive plan of the area showing the boundaries and the dimensions remains attached to and forms part of, the licence. A copy of the licence and plan must be kept on the premises at all times and be available for inspection.


1.21 The licence holder will make sure that all furniture, accessories and boundary treatment is of a design and materials agreed in writing by the Head of Customer Services.

1.22 The licence holder will make sure that any change of furniture or accessories is agreed by the Head of Customer Services.

1.23 The licence holder will make sure that the furniture, boundaries and associated structures and accessories are removed from the public highway within 30 minutes of closing of the Pavement Café.

1.24 The licence holder will make sure that all furniture, accessories and boundary treatment are maintained in good condition.

1.25 The licence holder will make sure that any umbrellas do not overhang the boundary of the pavement café. Use of umbrellas along with their location, materials and colour must be specified as part of the design. Umbrellas must remain unopened in high winds.

1.26 Where it is intended to use patio/space heaters, the licence holder will make sure that their dimensions, materials and colour are specified as part of the application and their proposed locations shown on the site layout plan. A formal risk assessment as required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 must be carried out. This should be carried out by a competent person. (Someone who has knowledge of the law, British Standards and Health and Safety Executive Codes of Practice and Guidance).

Whe we consider an application, we will take into account the inherent safety of the equipment. This will include its location, storage of Liquid Petroleum Gas cylinders, maintenance and training arrangements. Any risk assessment must:

  • Identify the hazards, for example, fire, explosion, burns, impact from falling heaters/cylinders.
  • Decide who may be harmed and how.
  • Evaluate the risks and decide whether proposed precautions will be adequate or whether more could be done.
  • Record findings.
  • Review assessment and revise if necessary.

2 Managing the café

Service guidance

The licence holder will make sure that:

2.1 Food and drink is transferred from indoor premises to the outdoor area by waiter or waitress service.

2.2 Food is served on ceramic plates and not in plastic or cardboard containers, paper bags or other wrappers.

2.3 Drinks are to be served in ceramic cups or plastic glasses or bottles. Cutlery should be stainless steel.

2.4 Toilet and hand washing facilities are provided within the premises.

2.5 Menus are readily available either at the tables or on request. A-boards must not be used to display menus or advertise the café.

2.6 All customers are offered the choice to purchase both food and drink at the pavement café.

Hygiene and Health & Safety

2.7 If food is to be consumed in the area covered by the pavement licence no smoking is permitted.

The licence holder:

2.8 Will make sure that the pavement café area is for the service and consumption of food and drink only. Preparation and storage of food and drink must not be undertaken outside the normal premises, as there may be difficulties with temperature control and a risk of contamination. It is imperative that good food hygiene practices are utilised at all times.

2.9 Will make sure that all the food and drink, which is consumed within the pavement café, is ordered and purchased there.

2.10 Will make sure that all vacated tables are cleared of all uneaten food, crockery, cutlery and any other associated debris as soon as possible, to reduce the risk of attracting pests.

2.11 Will make sure that spillages of food and drink on the highway is removed right away. Also, that the area is washed as soon as possible. This will keep to a minimum the likelihood of pests scavenging in the area.

2.12 Should consider providing umbrellas or some other form of cover in order to minimise the risk of food contamination if birds roost on buildings in the area.

Site Cleanliness

The licence holder:

2.13 Will make sure that all litter, grease or spillages are removed as and when requested and at the end of each working day. The cost of dealing with any drainage blockages resulting from the unauthorised disposal of effluent or solid waste will be the responsibility of the licensee.

2.14 Will be responsible for the cleanliness of the pavement café area at all times. An area of approximately eight metres around the site must also be kept clear of litter and care should also be taken to ensure that litter does not stray or get blown further a field.

2.15 Will make sure that any spillages and breakages are cleared immediately following procedures set out within an appropriate risk assessment.

2.16 Will make sure that tables and chairs and other associated equipment are maintained in a clean, tidy and safe condition at all times.

2.17 Will make arrangements, which are acceptable to the Council, to store items such as wheeled refuse containers, plastic refuse sacks, beer kegs, bottle crates and other unsightly items and associated with their business within the premises.

2.18 Should note that failure to comply with the cleaning requirements during the hours of operation may jeopardise renewal of the licence. Failure to comply with them at the end of the working day may result in the Council carrying out the work for which the licence holder will be charged.

Good Citizenship

2.19 It is the responsibility of the licensee to ensure that the pavement café is operated in accordance with the conditions of the licence. The pavement café must be suitably managed by staff to control the use of the outside area and maintain the area to as high a standard as is required inside their premises.

2.20 The Council will not permit any fixtures to or any excavation of any kind to the surface of the highway.

2.21 The licence holder will make sure that the pavement café is operated in a safe and efficient manner. making sure that there is no safety risk or nuisance caused to other users of the highway or nearby premises.

2.22 Where drinking takes place in the pavement café, plastic vessels must be used. The use of glassware will not be permitted.

2.23 The licence holder will make sure that beverages are decanted from bottles into plastic ;vessels, unless plastic bottles can be supplied.

2.24 The licence holder will make sure that the café area is kept under supervision at all times of its operation and all customers should be seated at all times.

2.25 The licence holder will make sure that every effort is made to avoid causing (directly or indirectly) damage to the highway or adjoining property. Any damage caused to the highway surface or to street furniture by any activity in connection with the pavement café operation will be recharged to the licensee.

2.26 The licence holder is responsible for the conduct of people within the pavement café. Allowing rowdy or unruly behaviour to continue may lead to the withdrawal or non-renewal of the licence.

2.27 Any officers from West Yorkshire Police and authorised Council Officers have the power of closure of the Pavement Café if it is deemed an immediate risk to public safety or there is a risk of crime and disorder. In these circumstances, the licence holder is responsible for the quiet dispersal of the customers from the pavement café. Also, that all furniture, boundaries and associated structures and accessories will be removed at the earliest opportunity.

2.28 Where premises have been required to close by either West Yorkshire Police or an authorised Council Officer the pavement café licence will be the subject of an immediate review. The premises will be required to remain closed until the review of the licence has been determined and a letter issued by the Council advising that the pavement café may recommence operation.

2.29 Where premises have an occupancy limit, the pavement café will be inclusive of this permitted occupancy figure.

2.30 In certain circumstances and in some locations it may be necessary to suspend the licence for pavement cafes on days when sporting or other events are taking place that are deemed problematic by West Yorkshire Police. Licence holders will be advised in writing of any such requirement.

2.31 The licence holder will take out third party public liability insurance in the sum of at least £3,000,000 with an insurance company who will be approved by the Council.

2.32 Granting a licence to operate a pavement café does not simply an exclusive right to the area. The operator of the café should be aware that the Council would need access to the highway for cleaning, repairs and access to equipment. Others, particularly statutory undertakers, may also require access for maintenance and repair of their equipment. The Council reserves the right to suspend the licence temporarily for any reason if it becomes necessary.

Hours of Operation

2.33 In certain pedestrianised areas the roadway is sometimes required for general vehicle passage, normally up to 9.30am and after 4pm. It may therefore be necessary in a few cases to restrict the hours of opening to between these times.

3 The pavement café in operation

3.1 The licence holder will make sure that the pavement café licence is displayed along with the pavement café plans in a prominent place. Also, that it is available for production at the request of authorised Council officials and West Yorkshire Police officers.

3.2 The licence holder should note that licences for pavement cafes, which are issued by the Council are not transferable and should not, therefore be regarded as a transferable asset.

3.3 The Council may suspend or terminate a licence if any of the conditions of the licence are breached.

3.4 The licence holder should note that if any minor or occasional breaches are found the Council will work with the operator to find a mutually acceptable solution. If major or persistent variances from the conditions are found to be happening the licence may be withdrawn.

3.5 A licence holder may terminate a licence at any time by informing the Council in writing.

3.6 In the event that any of the above conditions or the attached specifications are not complied with, the Head of Customer Services has the right to cancel the licence, having first given one oral and one written warning.

3.7 In the event that the licence is cancelled, the whole of the fee will be forfeited. The grant of another licence to that person will not be reconsidered within three years.

How to apply

Please use this form and guidance:

Email your completed application and documents to:

Important note: Only applications by email will be accepted. To be valid and go on to a public consultation, it must include all these documents that apply:

  • Written confirmation from neighbouring premise (if applicable).
  • Photos, brochures or scaled drawings that show design, dimensions, colour and materials of the proposed tables and chairs.
  • Public Liability Insurance for £5,000.000 (five million pounds).
  • The appropriate fee. (This can only be paid over the phone by card).
  • A plan of the proposed pavement area. For what you need to have in your plan, visit: Pavement Licence Plan requirements (Selby Council).
  • A copy of your risk assessment for serving food and drink in the pavement area.

On the day you apply, you must put a notice on your premises:

What happens if you accept my application as valid?

  • We will contact you for the £100 fee.
  • When we have the fee, we will start the consultation.

Public consultation

This will last for seven days and we will:

Important note: After this, we have seven days to consider your application. Due to consultation representations, your application can be refused, amended or have more conditions attached.

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