If you have a café, mobile food stall or other business selling food and drink that provides an outside seating area on the public highway, you must have a valid pavement licence.

About the process

We consider each application on individual merit. We will not process an application until you have given us all the information we need.

This also applies to variations and renewals.

The Business and Planning Act (Pavement Licences) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 has extended the provisions of the Business and Planning Act 2020 until 30 September 2024.

The application process remains the same and we have up to 14 days to determine a valid application. This includes a mandatory seven day public consultation period.

Before you apply

Before you apply, you need to read:


The fee for a pavement licence is £100.

When you apply

To apply for a licence, you need to complete the application form and submit it online.

On the day you apply, you will also need to display a public notice in a prominent position next to the highway. You can download a public notice template.

As part of your application, you will need to provide:

  • a scale plan, clearly showing the exact area the tables and chairs will be and the dimensions of all furniture
  • a copy of your public liability insurance
  • other supporting documents, such as details of the furniture you are buying
  • a copy of the public notice you have put up, and a picture of it in-situ

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we will:

  • acknowledge it within one working day
  • contact you via the details you have provided to take a payment of £100 (non-refundable)
  • advertise your application on our website and in our Civic Centre reception
  • allow people to make comments about or object to the application
  • send letters to neighbouring shops and properties
  • allow people to make representations or objections to the application

We will also send consultation letters and ask for comments from:   

  • Essex County Council Highways 
  • Essex Police
  • Essex Fire and Rescue Service
  • our planning and building control teams
  • our environmental team
  • our own city centre management
  • the Chelmsford City Centre Business Improvement Manager 
  • appropriate ward and parish councillors
  • any other relevant people

If we do not receive any comments or objections, we will grant the licence, subject to our standard conditions. If we do receive any comments or objections, we will consider them and may add further conditions or consider refusing the application.

Granting your application

If we grant your licence, we will monitor your café or restaurant, to make sure you are complying with the terms of the licence.

Your licence will be valid as shown on the licence until 30 September 2024.

If we do not make a decision on your application with the 14 day period, your licence will be 'deemed granted'. It will still be subject to the standard conditions. If 'deemed granted', your licence will be valid for one year, starting from the first day after the 14 day application period.

After September 2024

If you wish to continue your licence after 30 September 2024, you need to apply in good time for a regular tables and chairs licence. You will need to allow at least 28 days.

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