Your pavements should be easy to walk on


The pavements in Westminster should be in a good structural condition including all joints, fixing materials, and kerbstones. Paving and kerbs should not be damaged in any way that might pose a hazard to pedestrians.

Cracks, holes or other defects of 20mm or more (30mm on cobbles) will be investigated as potentially dangerous. We will aim to make safe, within 2 or 24 hours depending on severity, any defect posing immediate safety hazards.

Footways should also be well-drained, and all ironwork (e.g. covers) must be secure, in a sound physical condition and pose no trip hazards to pedestrians. Channels should be well maintained to ensure water drains freely.

Trees and Plants

Council-owned street trees or other type of planting or vegetation, must not present any hazard or obstruction to pedestrians or road users. All tree bases, or “tree pits”, should be well maintained, free of weeds, litter or other debris.

The trees and plants themselves should also be in a good physical condition - with any obvious defects such as damaged trunks, broken branches, redundant or broken stakes reported for remedial action.

Obstructions and on street activity

Tables and chairs

Tables and chairs placed on the public highway must have both planning permission and a licence.

They must comply with the terms of the licence, which will include a condition that sufficient space must be maintained on the pavement to allow pedestrians, wheel chair users, people with disabilities, the elderly and those with prams and pushchairs to pass safely and easily alongside.

Tables and chairs on the street are not permitted after 11pm, other than in Leicester Square, where permission for such outside trading can, in some circumstances, be granted until 1am.

Signage and canopies above shops or other premises, that overhang the public highway, must be safely attached, not causing an obstruction, and adhere to local planning guidance.


Advertising boards that are placed on the public highway and estate agent boards in certain areas require express advertisement consent from the council.

The council does not permit the display of mobile or placard advertisements – often referred to as “golf sale signs” – in specific designated areas within the city, because of the impact they have on pedestrian movements and the negative effect they have on the appearance of the street. 

Construction work and skips

All construction works (including scaffolding) must display a licence for the activities taking place on the public highway. The licence contains particular conditions which will protect the public from site works or offer alternative pedestrian access arrangements.

All skips located on the public highway require council permission, and must be well lit at night, covered when not in use, and placed in their designated area. ‘Roll on roll off’ style containers are prohibited, other than within works sites.

Other obstructions

Abandoned items causing persistent or serious nuisance or obstruction on pavements or carriageways must be removed by the offender, or by the council and the costs recharged.

Any item erected illegally on the public highway, such as private bollards or sign-posts, must be removed.

Any unauthorised vehicle – car or motorcycle – parked illegally on or crossing the public highway will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice. Such activity is not permitted and can pose significant danger to pedestrians.

Vehicles crossing the footway to access private land require approval from the council.

Use of the highway by pubs, clubs and bars – the council will limit the amount of people drinking on the highway, where a significant nuisance is caused or where safety is being compromised. Similarly, the numbers of people queuing on the highway can be controlled by the council where there are access, safety or nuisance concerns.

Street trading

Street trading on the public highway may require planning permission. All trading on the highway, private forecourts and land immediately adjacent to the highway requires a licence unless exempt (for example selling newspapers when carried by the seller, or car boot sales within an enclosed private area).

Licensed trading activities must only take place in designated locations, with all goods and receptacles contained within the particular pitch.

All approved trading must be safe and not cause a nuisance. Enforcement action will be taken against any illegal or non-compliant traders.

Street works

The council has a statutory duty under the network management duty to ensure ‘expedient movement of traffic’ and ensure the impact of works on traffic flow is minimised. We therefore require that all street works are well managed to ensure that:

  • Access is maintained and correctly signed
  • Waste does not accumulate
  • Time restrictions are observed so that works only take place within the allowed time periods
  • Disruption is kept to a minimum
  • Sites are safely reinstated.

All works must be correctly notified to the council and fines will be issued for failures to notify or for any errors in such notices.

All works sites must be maintained in line with established Codes of Practice and the council's 'Considerate Street Works' scheme – access for road users, residents and pedestrians is a particular priority and must be maintained to Code of Practice standards.

All hazardous defects which result from a street works site should be repaired by the responsible party within 2 or 24 hours, dependant on risk; and non-hazardous defects within 10-28 days.

Cones and barriers left on street that are no longer associated with any ongoing works, must be removed.

Any items that have been moved by an unauthorised person must be returned to their correct location if possible or removed by the company or persons responsible. Any items unable to be attributed to a particular company will be removed and disposed of by the council.

Reporting concerns and obstructions

Keeping our pavements and streets safe and clean is a top priority for us.

If you see a problem, let us know: Report It

Last updated: 9 June 2016
Rate this page: