Street & pavement café guidelines

Pavement cafés encourage people to interact and make the best of Northumberland’s beautiful environment.

You don’t need a licence or planning permission for a pavement café at the moment but café owners and shop owners should be aware of their legal obligations to keep the public highway obstruction-free and clear of litter.

These guidelines provide information about placing pavement cafés in Northumberland but can be applied to other display installations on public highways, including outdoor displays of greengrocery, flowers and household goods.
The ‘public highway’ includes:
  • footpaths
  • pavements
  • market places
  • parking spaces
  • roads
  • verges
These guidelines apply to all these areas. However, pavement cafés should only be placed in suitable locations. Any facilities blocking roads, parking areas or public footpaths could be subject to enforcement action.

There are no longer any fees payable to the council associated with establishing a pavement café, other than if the café owner would like on-site advice from  an officer of the council.

The council no longer requires cafés to have up-to-date public liability insurance prior to trade from the public highway. However, insurance is strongly advisable in order to provide café owners with cover should an accident happen.
Cafe-Pavement-GuidelinesOfficers are able to provide advice in order to assist in complying with these guidelines. Advice by telephone and email is provided free of charge.

We strongly recommend neighbouring traders, businesses and residents are consulted and their views acknowledged. This will assist in reducing the risk of subsequent complaints and requests to the council for action.

Café proprietors may wish to meet with council officers to discuss their proposals. In such circumstances, officers may charge a fixed fee of no more than £100 to undertake up to three site visits per pavement café within a six-month period. All discussions are without prejudice and no liability will be accepted by the council.

For further information please click here
Key contacts for the development of pavement café proposals are as follows:

Pavement café layouts and enforcement