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COVID 19 Trading Policy Pavement Licences | Footway Permit | Sandwell Council

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Footway Permit

COVID 19 Trading Policy Pavement Licences

Business and Planning Act 2020

COVID 19 Trading Policy Pavement Licences

The Government has introduced a new type of temporary licence to make it easier for a business to put pavement furniture on footways, or other pedestrianised areas including closed roads. The temporary pavement licences can be granted for use until 30th September 2021.

A business is eligible to be considered for a licence which uses (or proposes to use) premises for the sale of food or drink for consumption (on or off the premises).  Businesses that are eligible include: public houses, cafes, bars, restaurants, snack bars, coffee shops, and ice cream parlours including where such uses form an ancillary aspect of another use, for example supermarket or entertainment venues which sell food and drink.

The 2020 Act sets out two conditions which apply to pavement licences which are granted or deemed to be granted these are: a no obstruction condition and a smoke free seating condition.  These apply only to licences granted under the Business and Planning Act 2020, not existing licences permitted under Part 7A of the Highways Act 1980 or other relevant legislation.

It is important that businesses can cater to their customers’ preferences.  The Business and Planning Act 2020 imposes a smoke-free seating condition in relation to licences where seating used for the purpose of consuming food or drink has been, (or is to be) placed on the relevant highway.  The condition requires a licence holder to make reasonable provision for seating where smoking is not permitted.

These licences are like existing table and chair permits but with more favourable conditions to help support businesses.

Pavement furniture or outdoor hospitality activity must not obstruct pedestrians, especially those with mobility needs or push chairs.

There should be a minimum of 1.5 metres of clear footway width to allow pedestrians to social distance and to prevent obstructions.

We will resist excessive encroachment onto the pavement, where walking on our streets becomes difficult, and the streets themselves become unattractive to use.


Licensed hours will be limited between 0800hrs. & 2200hrs. (8am – 10pm) Monday to Sunday in order to limit impact on residential amenity.

All pavement furniture should where possible be non-reflective and of reasonable substance such that it cannot easily be pushed or blown over by the wind, and thereby cause obstruction – for example, the use of plastic patio furniture could be refused.

At the end time for the use of tables and chairs, they must be brought into the premises.

The positioning of furniture should not discourage pedestrians from using the footway.  The available route must be entirely clear and not pass through an area with table and chairs or conflict with street furniture.

Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 places duties on local authorities, to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t and foster or encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t.

It is vital that any external facilities proposed by you for use on the highway are covered by your insurance policy.  We require public liability insurance to the value of £5 million.  Any licence application for pavement furniture will be unsuccessful without proof of insurance.

Any area, and its surrounds, authorised for use will be well managed and kept clear at all times.

How to apply for a pavement licence

The application fee is £100 and will be processed within two weeks.

The application form will ask you to:

Specify the premises to which the application relates.

Specify whether the application is for external seating or for the serving/vending of food and drink or for both purposes.

Specify the part of the relevant highway to which the application relates, a scale plan (drawing) is required.

Specify the days of the week on which, and the hours between which it is proposed to put furniture on the highway.

Describe the type of furniture to which the application relates.

Specify the date on which the application was made.

Supply evidence of public liability insurance (£5 million)

Confirm whether or not alcohol is to be served.

Completed applications should then be sent by email to

Determining the application

Once the application is submitted the authority has 10 working days from the day after the application is made (excluding public holidays) to consult on and determine the application.  This consists of 5 working days for public consultation, and then 5 working days to consider and determine the application after consultation.

On the same date as making the application you must also display a site notice, in a prominent position on your premises, stating your intention to apply for a pavement licence that remains visible for the consultation period.  The application will also be published online on the council web site.

Any representations made during the consultation period will be taken into account before issuing any licence. 

Further information is available by visiting Pavement Licences: Guidance