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Apply for a pavement licence

The government has introduced a new pavement licence for placing removable furniture over certain highways next to premises, for the sale, or service and consumption, of food and drink. 

Pavement licences replace Westminster City Council’s existing fast-track table and chairs licences.

Planning permission is not required.

The licence will allow businesses to use more of the space outside of their premises, helping them to be COVID-19 secure whilst protecting as many hospitality jobs as possible.

1. Who can apply?

The following businesses are eligible to apply for a pavement licence:

  • pubs
  • restaurants
  • bars
  • cafes
  • snack bars
  • coffee shops
  • ice cream parlours

Premises that have ancillary aspect uses such as supermarkets and entertainment venues that sell food and drink may also apply.

2. Conditions and requirements

A pavement licence is subject to 2 national conditions, relating to non-obstruction and the provision of non-smoking seating.

Full list of pavement licence conditions (PDF, 80KB)


Pavement licence applications must:

  • specify the premises and where on the highway you intend to place the tables and chairs and other furniture
  • specify that the purpose of the tables and chairs and other furniture will be to sell or consume food or drink (in connection with the relevant use of the premises)
  • specify the days of the week and the hours of each day that you intend to use the highway (pavement licences will only be granted for use between 11am and 11pm) - days and times applied for must coincide with the times of the highway closure
  • describe the type and amount of all furniture that you intend to use
  • specify the date on which the application is made
  • include a certificate of public liability insurance for no less that £2,000,000 that covers the area that you intend to licence
  • include a COVID-19 risk assessment to demonstrate that the premises is COVID-19 secure before the premises reopens (see GOV.UK - reopening your business safely for a risk assessment template)
  • include a risk assessment for the use of space-heaters (if applicable)
  • include photographic evidence to show you have displayed public notice of the application
  • include a clear and legible highway plan, ensuring that the smoking and non-smoking sections are clearly labelled

Highway plan

Please make sure your plan meets these requirements:

  • all applicants must ensure that there is a 2m pedestrian clearway along the length of the proposed site
  • if the proposed location is set at a kerb edge, then a minimum 0.45m set back is required
  • footway depth must be a minimum of 2.8m, which leaves a 2m pedestrian clearway and 0.8m for table and chairs and other furniture
  • if table service is required to the tables and chairs then extra space is required, this must be factored into the capacity requested - a space of 0.9m is necessary if an access clearway is required for service staff and diners
  • smoking and non-smoking areas must be clearly defined
  • no tables or barrels that encourage eating or drinking while standing
  • all immediate items of existing street furniture must be shown on the plan
  • drawing must be scaled
  • a location map must be included

Read our guide to placing of tables and chairs on the highway for layouts and density requirements.

3. Apply

A pavement licence costs £100.

Apply for a pavement licence

Applications will be decided within 14 days of receipt if they meet the requirements.

Pavement licences can be granted for a minimum of 3 months but may not extend beyond September 2021.

4. Displaying public notice

A public notice must be displayed on the premises the day that the application is made, with the consultation period running for 5 working days starting from the next working day after the application is made. 

Public notice template (DOCX, 17KB)

5. Risk assessments for electric heaters

As an employer, you are required by law to protect your employees and others from harm. The minimum you must do is:

  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

Assessing risk is just one part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace.

A risk assessment is required for the use of electric heaters (portable or fixed).

Help with composing this risk assessment is available from the Health and Safety Executive.

The risk assessment should identify:

  • the activities that are involved in use of heaters (setting up, use of, cleaning and maintenance)
  • the potential hazards
  • the persons affected by the activity – (think about who could be at risk)
  • the risk, which should include the probability/likelihood of harm, the severity of injury and numbers of persons affected
  • the control measures that could include, removal of the activity or if this isn’t possible, the measures that are required to reduce the risk

The hazards you will need to consider are:

  • fire
  • electrocution
  • burns
  • manual handling
  • trips and slips
  • instability (including attached heaters)

This should be submitted as a separate document when applying for a licence for furniture on Westminster land.

If you have an existing licence and you want to add electric heaters to your licence you can do this by emailing your request to including a copy of your risk assessment. Your request will be considered and if granted, an amended licence will be issued to you. There is no additional fee for adding electric heaters after a licence has been granted.

However, if you want to add any winter/weather structures (Umbrellas/Gazebos etc.) to your licence, you will need to make a new application and if granted, surrender your existing licence. 

6. Contact

If you need advice or have questions relating to this, contact the licensing service on 020 7641 4141 or at

Last updated: 19 November 2020