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Reopening our town centres - Tables & Chairs

Adur & Worthing Councils are working with local businesses and partners, such as Sussex Police, Worthing TCI and traders' organisations to ensure our town centres can reopen safely to the public. The emphasis is on individual businesses to make sure their premises are safe places for shoppers and workers.

A range of advice for businesses is available on the GOV.UK website and on our Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business Advice webpage.

In early June we wrote an open letter to traders and businesses outlining the challenges they have faced and the steps that are being taken to reopen town centres. The letter can be found here.

With the government lifting some restrictions, Adur & Worthing Councils are working with West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and other partners to encourage businesses to make use of the open spaces, where possible, in our town centres. This will make social distancing easier and minimise the risks to employees and customers while supporting our local economy.

Apply for a pavement licence

Public houses, restaurants, cafes and other food establishments can now apply to Adur & Worthing Councils for a licence to place tables & chairs outside their premises for customers to sit to consume food and drink. Guidance to the rules, the Councils' licensing policy and how to apply are detailed below.

If you would like to apply for a pavement licence please use the form below:

You can also:

Tables and chairs:

The Business & Planning Act 2020 was passed on the 22nd July giving Adur & Worthing Councils powers to support local businesses such as public houses, bars, cafes and restaurants to place tables and chairs outside their premises for customers to sit and consume food & drink.

Among the measures this new Act allows for businesses to apply for a new pavement licence. This licence removes the need to apply for a WSCC Highway permit and constitutes deemed planning permission thus removing the requirement for a separate planning application. It also removes the requirement for a street trading licence or consent and thus streamlines the whole process. This is a temporary piece of legislation and applies until the 30th September 2021.

To assist local businesses the Councils have waived the fees for 2020 but the Act does dictate that applications need to be made online and Adur & Worthing Councils are developing a new online streamline application portal. This should be available by 30th July and businesses will be able to apply here.

The application process takes only 10 working days including a 5 day public consultation by displaying a public notice. The relevant authorities such as Sussex Police and the Highway authority will also be consulted.

Businesses will be required to provide certain information with the application including:

  • a plan showing the location of the premises shown by a red 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. The plan must show the positions and number of the proposed tables and chairs, together with any other items that they wish to place on the highway. The plan shall include clear measurements of, for example, pathway width/length, building width and any other fixed item in the proposed area.
  • the proposed days of the week on which, and the times of day between which, it is proposed to put furniture on the highway
  • evidence of the right to occupy the premises (eg the lease)
  • photos or brochures showing the proposed type of furniture and information on potential siting of it within the area applied
  • evidence that the applicant has met the requirement to give notice of the application (for example photographs of the notice outside the premises and of the notice itself)
  • a copy of a current certificate of insurance that covers the activity for third party and public liability risks, to a minimum value of £5 million, and
  • any other evidence needed to demonstrate how the Councils'; local conditions, and the national conditions will be satisfied.

Adur & Worthing Councils' Pavement Licensing Policy:

The Council's new pavement licensing policy is published below. It details the conditions businesses will need to comply with and includes measures to address:

  • The needs of disabled people, which the Councils must consider when determining whether to grant a pavement licence.
  • Licence holders reasonable provision for outside seating where smoking is not permitted.

PDF FileAWC Pavement Licensing Policy (1,178KB)

If you have any queries please contact the Councils' Licensing Unit at: 

Alcohol sales:

The Business & Planning Act 2020 has also brought in changes to the Licensing Act 2003 allowing licensed premises such as public houses, bars, cafes and restaurants to serve alcohol to customers seated in these designated outside areas in most cases without having to apply for a variation of their premises licence.

The provisions in the Act temporarily modify the Licensing Act 2003 to provide an automatic extension to the terms of most premises licences which only permit the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises to allow the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises. This will make it easier for licensed premises to sell alcohol to customers for consumption off the premises, which will allow businesses to trade and maintain social distancing.

The new off-sales permission will permit off-sales to be made at a time when the licensed premises are open for the purposes of selling alcohol for consumption on the premises, subject to a cut off time of 11pm or the closure time of an existing outside area, whichever is earlier.

Anyone looking for further information or guidance can contact the Councils' licensing team on

Outdoor trading:

Adur & Worthing Councils have put in place temporary road closures in Montague Place, Portland Road and Montague Street west specifically to assist the small businesses in these areas and allow limited outside trading in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

The cafes, restaurants and bars in these areas are advised to consider how best they can use this opportunity to reopen successfully. To get advice on reopening a licensed premises and/or the use of the space outside your licensed premises contact the Councils' Licensing Unit on

A-Boards and Tables & Chairs on the highway

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