The Business and Planning Act 2020 has introduced a new, temporary, fast-track process for businesses to obtain a pavement licence. This allows temporary permission to place furniture like tables and chairs on the highway (including footpaths and pavements) close to their premises.

This permission can only be used to sell or consume food and drink in connection with the activity of the main premises.

Licences will expire on 30 September 2023.

This will help businesses to maximise their ability to trade, whilst adhering to social-distancing guidelines.


The permission will only be granted if you are able to meet certain conditions set out nationally.

The grant of a temporary licence must: 

  • not prevent the normal passage of vehicles and pedestrians
    • a minimum passing width for pedestrians of 1.5m must be maintained at all times
  • not prevent statutory undertakers (such as a water supplier or gas and electricity providers) or the communications networks from having access to any of their equipment or facilities
  • make reasonable provision for seating where smoking is not permitted

There will also be conditions imposed at a local level to ensure that granting your temporary permit does not cause problems for other businesses or persons in the vicinity. The conditions will also ensure placing of the furniture does not cause an obstruction or pose a danger. 

How to apply 

Apply online

You will also need to provide supporting documents including:

  • a site plan
  • evidence of public liability insurance cover for at least £5,000,000
  • details of the objects you wish to place on the highway


There is a fee of £100 payable when you submit your application.

What you have to do next

On the same day that you make the application, you are required to advertise your application by fixing a notice of the application to the premises so that it is visible to, and can be read easily by, members of the public who are not on the premises.

You also have to make sure the notice remains in place until the end of the public consultation period - 7 days beginning with the day after you make the application.

We'll email you a template for the notice with the confirmation that your application has been accepted. You can also find the template notice for this process online.


All applications are subject to a 7 day public consultation period, starting the day after the day the application is made.

We then have a further 7 days to make a decision on the application. If we fail to make a decision within this time frame, the licence is deemed granted.

There is no right of appeal if the application is refused.

Current applications

When businesses apply for temporary pavement licences, the application will appear below whilst they are under consultation.

Name of Premises: 
Address of Premises: 
Last date of Representation: 

Existing pavement cafe or shopfront licences

Premises with pavement cafe or shopfront licences issued under the London Local Authorities Act 1990 are still valid.

You may wish to make use of the new fast track application process under the Business and Planning Act 2020 to extend or add new areas for tables and chairs or other furniture.

In theory, the new licences can be used instead of the London Local Authorities Act licences issued prior to the new legislation.  

However, if you intend to surrender your existing pavement cafe/shopfront licence, or not renew it when it expires, you need to be aware that when the temporary pavement licence period ends in September 2022, you will need to make an application for a new London Local Authorities Act licence (not apply for a renewal).

This process may require new planning permission and will be a longer and potentially more expensive process than retaining your existing licence and renewing it as normal.