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Home: Ashford Borough Council

Distributing Free Literature

It is a criminal offence to hand out free literature in certain areas of Ashford and Tenterden town centres without a permit from us, unless for one of the exemptions listed below.

The following maps show the areas in Ashford and Tenterden town centres that are subject to the controls:


To "distribute" printed matter means to give it out or make it available to members of the public.

This includes placing it on or affixing it to vehicles (this is not permitted within the controlled area) but it does not include putting it inside a building or letterbox.

Apply for a permit

To apply you must complete the application for a permit to distribute free printed matter [pdf] 520KB to distribute free literature and return it with the appropriate fee (listed on the application form).

Applications for consent must be made at least fourteen days before the required date of distribution.


The maximum penalty for distributing free literature without a permit is £2,500. As an alternative to prosecution a fixed penalty notice maybe issued (£75).


A permit for the distribution of free printed matter is NOT required when made:

  • On by or on behalf of a charity (where the printed matter relates to the charity and is for charitable purposes)
  • For political purposes
  • For the purposes of a religion or belief

Contact us

For further information please email the Licensing Team.

By post
Ashford Borough Council
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Kent TN23 1PL


Questions Answers
Can I give out leaflets in the town centre? Yes, but unless you fall into one of the exemptions below you need to apply for a permit. 
How do I apply for a permit? Fill out the application for a permit to distribute free printed matter [pdf] 520KB and send it to the Licensing Team, along with the fee.
What are the exemptions? Charities, political or religious. You do not need to complete a form.
How much does it cost?  The fees are listed on the application for a permit to distribute free printed matter [pdf] 520KB.
Can leaflets be left on cars?  No, this is not permitted. 


Note: Questions marked by * are mandatory