Al fresco dining on the high street


Summer has finally arrived and restaurateurs with the benefit of a pavement licence are likely to see an increase in trade as they offer diners the opportunity to sit outside to enjoy the warmer weather. However, there are certain considerations to take note of when applying for any licence, including whether your property’s lease actually allows for one.Local authorities already recognise how pavement café​s can contribute to an attractive and welcoming environment for a range of visitors and boost footfall. However, different councils adopt different policies. ​

Havering Council 

Havering Council adopt a Local Development Order for designated areas in the borough which grants planning permission to any pavement café​​ in those areas which comply with the requirements of the Order. However, the Order does not remove the need for restaurateurs to have a street trading licence and there may be particular restrictions on permitted times of use for pavement café​s in certain areas due to concerns over noise levels and public nuisance. ​

Brentwood Council 

Brentwood Borough Council consider applications for Pavement Permits on the individual merits of an application. There is a policy in place which enables councillors to consider applications for setting up tables and chairs on the footway favourable where catering establishments are able to meet minimum standards; by proving that they already serve food and drink within the premises, they employ sufficient staff to provide table service to the outside area and they offer sanitary conveniences for use by patrons.

The Council states that it recognises the economic prosperity of the Borough is affected by the attractiveness to visitors and residents for leisure shopping and entertainment purposes. They are also mindful however of the needs of other footway users and say they grant permits in a controlled and managed way.

Alcohol licences

Sales of alcohol at pavement café​s are regulated by the restaurateurs’ premises licence – if you do not have permission for consumption of alcohol off the premises this may be obtained by making a separate application to extend your premises licence to permit consumption of alcohol in a licenced outdoor area.

Restrictions within your lease

It is advisable to check the permitted use provisions of your lease before making an application for a pavement permit to ensure that you will not be in breach of tenant covenants in making the application or using the licence for the duration of the licence period. 

More information

Our award winning Commercial Property Team have significant experience in this area and are committed to making sure that the interests of your business are looked after when it comes to commercial leases.

Our experts would be happy to assist you with a review of your lease in these circumstances. Please contact us for a free no obligation quote.This article was written by Keeley Miller, Senior Associate in the Commercial Property Team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of July 2019.


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