Pavement licence

Pavement Licences are a temporary measure brought in under the provisions of Part 1 of the 2020 Act.

Find out more about pavement licence available now for businesses recovering and reopening after the coronavirus lock down.

This information was last updated 31 August 2023

What is a pavement licence?

The Business and Planning Act 2020 came into force on 22 July 2020 allowing businesses to apply for a Pavement Licence to place removable furniture on certain highways adjacent to their premises for the purposes of selling/serving and/or consuming food and drink outdoors. Pavement Licences are a temporary measure brought in under the provisions of Part 1 of the 2020 Act. The intended aim of this new legislation is to support businesses serving food and drink (including - but not limited to - bars, restaurants and cafes) to survive the pandemic. These measures were extended on 20 July 2021 and will now be effective until 30 September 2024. 

Government guidance - pavement licences

Click here for guidance issued by the Government for the new pavement licenses (outdoor seating proposal). The guidance refers to 5 days for both the consultation and determination periods, however this has been updated to 7 days in Act itself.

The Government’s new pavement licensing regime expects that:

  • All businesses that place seating and furniture on the pavement are required to formally apply to the Council for consent, irrespective of whether this is a new arrangement or their historic practice.
  • There will be a non refundable application fee up to a maximum of £100 for the pavement licence. Northumberland County Council has however decided to waive this fee for another year to help support businesses.
  • Applicants need to demonstrate that they are able to place seating and furniture on the pavement in accordance with current Government guidance.
  • It is envisaged that at the expiry of the current temporary pavement licensing arrangements that other pavement licensing arrangements will have been put in place by the local authority under the Highways Act 1980.

The Council and pavement licences

Northumberland County Council wants to do all it can to safeguard public health while supporting our economic recovery. The Council recognises that current social distancing guidelines will have considerable impact on the capacity of cafes, pubs and restaurants to accommodate customers. 

This process should be used only when applying to use a pavement adjacent to the premises for the purposes of selling/serving and/or consuming food and drink outdoors.

Please note - a pavement licence does not:

  • Permit the sale of alcohol, so if you do also wish to serve alcohol as part of your business, you must hold a separate Premises Licence under The Licensing Act 2003 in addition to any Pavement Licence granted.
Please ensure you have read the ‘Pavement Licence Information Sheet’ for detailed information on the legislation, statutory guidance, the application process, size and layout requirements, furniture, etc.
All applications must be submitted electronically using the online application process.
All Pavement Licences granted by the Council are subject to ‘Standard Pavement Licence Conditions’.  
Prior to filling in the online application you must;-
  • Complete, print and display a copy of the ‘Notice of Application’ in your premises window.
  • Prepare a plan of the proposed layout and display a copy in your premises’ window.
  • Take a photo of the Notice of Application and proposed layout showing that they are in place and easily readable by the public.
Examples of pavement licence area layouts can be found in Section 3 of the Pavement Licence Information Sheet.
In order for your application to be processed you also must ensure that the following documents are attached to the online application at the time of submission;-
  • A copy of your public liability insurance (this must be to the value of £5,000,000).
  • A plan of the proposed layout (a scale plan showing the area of relevant highway in respect of which the Pavement Licence is sought and the layout of the furniture to be placed on it).
  • A photo of the Notice of Application and proposed layout plan affixed to your premises’ window.
If you are an agent working on behalf of the proposed licence holder, you will need to provide signed documentation from the proposed licence holder confirming you have authority to act on their behalf.

The link to the pavement licence application form can be found here.
Prior to applying for your pavement licence you are encouraged to discuss your proposal with neighbouring businesses and other occupiers with particular regard to noise and nuisance. You are also encouraged to discuss your proposals with any services operated in the vicinity for vulnerable customers (e.g. care homes, disability organisations etc.) where individuals are at particular risk.

The ‘Notice of Application’ which is affixed to your premises’ window forms part of the publication. In addition to this, once your application has been submitted and verified, it will be made public on the Council’s Pavement Licence portal which can be viewed here.

The 7 day public consultation period starts on the day after your online application has been submitted.  

Members of the public will be able to view your application on our website and make representations either in support or to object.
Members of the public can view any application made on our website and make comments either in support or to object to proposals submitted. You can view an application and make a representation here.
Applicants should also be aware of the following statutory guidance which may affect the suitability of any application made: The Council has the power under these provisions to licence such activities and to ensure that they are properly regulated.
The Council aims to make a decision either to ‘grant’ or ‘refuse’ all applications within the timescales as set out in the 2020 Act.  Where this is not possible a pavement licence application will automatically ‘deem’. 
Applicants will receive an email confirming the decision. Where an application is granted, a link to the licence will also be included; the licence will need to be printed off and stored on the premises. 
A link to the ‘Request for a review’ form will be included with any application that has been refused. Once completed, a review will be undertaken by a senior manager of the Council who has not been previously involved in the determination of your application.
Following the granting of a pavement licence, should you no longer require your licence, we ask that you email a completed ‘Notice of Surrender of licence’ form to
The Council will undertake checks to ensure that businesses who have furniture out on the pavement have a valid Pavement Licence authorising this activity. For those businesses who do not have a valid Pavement Licence, the Council may use its powers under the Highways Act 1980 to remove any unauthorised obstructions of the highway and to recover its costs incurred in doing so.
The Council will also undertake checks of businesses that have a valid Pavement Licence to ensure the conditions are being adhered to. If it is found that there are any breaches of the conditions, appropriate enforcement action in accordance with the Business and Planning Act 2020 will be taken. This action may result in a pavement licence being revoked.
If you have any queries regarding Pavement Licences please contact us via email at