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Luton Borough Council

Fast track pavement licence

New pavement licence introduced to support pubs, cafes and restaurants.

The government has introduced a new pavement licence for the hospitality sector, to place removable furniture on the public highway outside their premises, for the sale, or service and consumption, of food and drink. 

The following businesses are eligible to apply for a pavement licence:

  • pubs
  • restaurants
  • bars
  • cafes
  • snack bars
  • coffee shops
  • ice cream parlours

The licence will allow businesses to use space outside of their premises, helping them to be COVID-19 secure.

See also our temporary street furniture - street cafe licence

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have created a new fast track temporary furniture on the highway (tables and chairs) application process to enable businesses to provide outside tables and chairs for up to 12 months, but no longer than when the regime ceases.

What businesses are eligible:

Please note, the revised fast track application process, will apply specifically to the below businesses ONLY:

A business 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.

A fast track licence permits the business to use furniture placed on the highway to sell or serve food or drink and/ or allow it to be used by people for consumption of food or drink supplied from, or in connection with the use of the premises.

Businesses can apply for a tables and chairs licence for any outside space that is not on private land belonging to those premises. This area can go beyond an individual business and in front of neighbours, provided that consent has been obtained from that business or landlord and it accompanies any application.

It is important to note the grant of a pavement licence only permits the placing of furniture on the highway. Other regulatory frameworks still apply such as the need for alcohol licences and the need to comply with registration requirements for food businesses.

If the applicant has a licence to serve alcohol on-premises temporary amendments to the Licensing Act 2003 will allow them to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises without needing to apply for a variation of the existing licence.

What furniture can be permitted by a licence?

The furniture which may be used is:

  • counters or stalls for selling or serving food or drink
  • tables, counters or shelves on which food or drink can be placed
  • chairs, benches or other forms of seating
  • umbrellas, barriers, heaters and other articles used in connection with the outdoor consumption of food or drink

This furniture is required to be removable. Local authorities should be pragmatic when determining what is ‘removable’ but in principle this means it is not a permanent fixed structure, and is able to be moved easily, and stored away of each evening.

Are there any exclusions from this provision?

Licences can only be granted in respect of highways listed in section 115A(1) Highways Act 1980. Generally, these are footpaths restricted to pedestrians or are roads and places to which vehicle access is restricted or prohibited. Highways maintained by Network Rail or over the Crown land are exempt (so a licence cannot be granted).

Does the applicant need planning permission as well as the licence?

No. Once a licence is granted, or deemed to be granted, the applicant will also benefit from deemed planning permission to use the land for anything done pursuant to the licence while the licence is valid.

What happens once the information is submitted to the local authority?

Once the information is submitted to the local authority the authority has 14 days from the day after the application is made (excluding public holidays) to consult on, and determine the application. This consists of 7 days for public consultation, and then 7 days to consider and determine the application after the consultation.

If the local authority does not determine the application within the 14 day period, the application will be deemed to have been granted.

Requirements to display a notice on the premises.

Once you have submitted your application you are required to display a notice of your application which is in a prescribed form required by the council. This must state the following:

That the application has been made and the date that this was submitted;

The details of where representations can be made during the consultation period and when that period ends;

Any other such information the council feels necessary to publish.

You will be able to use the council’s prescribed notice which will highlight those requirements.

What Information is required to apply for a pavement licence?

  • Completed application form
  • a plan showing the location of the premises shown by a clear line, so the application site can be clearly identified
  • a plan clearly showing the proposed area covered by the licence in relation to the highway, if not to scale, with measurements clearly shown; (all can be shown on one clear plan)
  • fee of £100

What happens if an applicant has already made an application under the current regime?

If an applicant has already applied for permission to place furniture on the highway under the existing regime and their application has not been determined they may proceed with that application. However, that applicant may opt to make a fresh application for a pavement licence under the new process. In those circumstances the pending application will be deemed to have been withdrawn. If the fee for the pending application was paid the authority will not be permitted to charge a fee for the new application for a pavement licence.

Apply for a pavement licence

We are not permitted to accept applications by post.


There are specific requirements of the fast track application process:

  • the table and chairs licence will be issued up to 12 months
  • applications for a tables and chairs licence are made for use up to 11pm (with tables and chairs being removed by 11.20pm), times may be considered outside of this on a case by case basis
  • the proposed area for tables and chairs must give enough space to allow people to pass whilst keeping the appropriate social distances - from 4 July 2020 businesses should ensure that where possible a two metre gap should be in place but if this is not possible then this gap can be reduced to a minimum of one metre plus with the appropriate mitigation
  • a risk assessment for the operation of the business identifying any mitigation to reduce risk to the public and their staff, will be completed and submitted with the application - failure to include the risk assessment will invalidate your application
© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ