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Pavement Licensing

A pavement licence is a streamlined process that allows business selling food and drink for consumption to place removable furniture over onto the highway adjacent to the premises in order to sell or serve food or drink and/or allow it to be used for consumption of food or drink.

These licences can only be granted in respect of highways listed in Part 7A of the Highways Act 1980, which are generally, footpaths restricted to pedestrians, or, roads and places to which vehicle access is restricted/prohibited.

Please note: Businesses may apply for these licences as an temporary alternative to seeking a permit for tables and chairs from Kent County Council Highways. Any licence granted under this temporary alternative will only have effect up until 30 September 2023. Should you wish to pursue a standard tables and chairs permit under the Highways Act please contact Kent County Council Highways.


Prior to applying for a licence, you should familiarise yourself with the national and local conditions [pdf] 172KB to ensure that your proposals do not breach the standard requirements

You will also need to display a public notice [docx] 25KB at the premises in the required form from the day you submit an application, so that it is visible to members of the public who are not on the premises. You must ensure it remains in place for 7 calendar days, calculated as starting from the day after the application is made.

As part of the online application process you will be required to;

  • Specify the business premises concerned
  • Specify the purpose (or purposes) for which the furniture will be used which must be to sell or serve food or drink, and/or for use by other people for the consumption of food or drink. In both cases the food or drink must be supplied from, or in connection with relevant use of the premises
  • Specify the days of the week and the hours between which it is proposed to have furniture on the highway
  • Provide evidence of public liability insurance to the value of £5 million
  • Provide a plan as specified on the application form
  • Provide a description of the type(s) of furniture, including photos of the relevant items
  • Make payment of the application fee (£100) at time of completing application form by credit or debit card.

You may make an application by completing the pavement licence application form.

Please note: The application will only be valid from the date in which all of the necessary information is provided and payment made.


The local authority has 7 calendar days from the day after the public consultation period has closed to determine the application.

In determining whether to grant a licence we will need to consider a number of factors, such as;

  • Take into account any representations made;
  • Take into account any consultations (i.e. with Kent Highways);
  • Ensuring that nothing prevents traffic, other than vehicular traffic, from; entering the highways where it could otherwise enter, passing along the highway, having normal access to premises adjoining the highway;
  • Ensuring that nothing prevents the use of vehicles as permitted;
  • Ensuring that nothing prevents statutory undertakers from having access to apparatus of theirs;
  • Ensuring that nothing prevents access to electronic communications apparatus;
  • The needs of disabled people;
  • The minimum access distances required by the secretary of state.

As part of determination we may;

  • Grant the licence in respect of any or all of the purposes specified in the application,
  • Grant the licence for some or all of the part of the highway specified in the application, and impose conditions, or
  • Refuse the application.


There is no statutory appeal process for these decisions, however, refused applications may be appealed by writing to the Regulatory Sub-Committee within 14 days of refusal.


A pavement licence may be surrendered by completing the pavement licence surrender notice template [docx] 24KB and emailing it to licensing@ashford.gov.uk.


How is this new licence different to existing rules?

Tables and chairs permits are presently granted primarily under Part 7A of the Highways Act 1980 by Kent County Council, however such those permits do not include the ability to conduct street trading, and do not grant planning consent.

The new ‘pavement licences’ provide a cheaper, easier and quicker way for businesses to obtain a licence for trading up until 30 September 2023 at latest. These licences will authorise street trading, allow for tables and chairs to be placed, and, be considered a deemed planned consent.

The fee for applying for a licence under the new process, is £100 and the consultation period is 7 calendar days after which the application will be determined.

How long are pavement licenses valid for?

A licence granted or deemed to be granted will not be valid beyond 30 September 2023 at latest, but will normally be granted up until this date. 

It is anticipated that after this time a new permanent Pavement Licensing regime will be enacted by government.

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; and
  • 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 an evening.

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 about alcohol licensing?

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 licenses and the need to comply with registration requirements for food businesses.

Who must local authorities consult?

The local authority must consult Kent County Council Highways authority, but also consults with Kent Police, Ward Members, and where appropriate Tenterden Town Council.

Can members of the public make representations about the application?

Members of the public can contact the Licensing team to make representations during the public consultation period which is the period of 7 calendar days starting the day after the application is submitted (excluding public holidays).

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.

Can local authorities impose conditions which are not published?

Yes. When they grant a licence, local authorities may impose reasonable conditions whether or not they are published upfront.

What steps should an applicant take to engage with their community?

The applicant is required to affix a notice to the premises, so it is easily visible and legible to the public on the day they submit the application to the local authority. They must ensure the notice remains in place for the public consultation period which is the period of 5 working days beginning with the day after the day the application is submitted to the authority. When counting ‘working days’ public holidays are not included. Applicants are encouraged to keep evidence of this.

The notice must be in the form which the local authority prescribes.

The applicant is encouraged to talk to neighbouring businesses and occupiers prior to applying to the local authority, and so take any issues around noise, and nuisance into consideration as part of the proposal.