Pavement licensing

Originally introduced as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HM Government introduced the Business & Planning Act 2020 as temporary legislation to relax Planning and Licensing legislation to facilitate outside trading and with it a new fast-track Pavement Licence regime which allows, where appropriate, the use of public pavements by food & hospitality businesses to trade outside their premises with a Pavement Licence granted by the councils.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions no longer applying, Pavement Licensing has proven to be extremely popular with both businesses and the public. As a result the government has extended the temporary legislation and it will continue in force until 30th September 2024.

As the government lifted all COVID-19 restrictions, Adur & Worthing Councils worked closely with West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and other partners to encourage businesses to make use of outside spaces in our town centres and has waived all pavement licence fees until 30th September 2024. The intention being to 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, cafés and other food establishments can apply to Adur & Worthing Councils for a licence to place tables and 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:

Pavement licences - permission to place tables and chairs on the pavement:

The Business & Planning Act 2020 was passed on the 22nd July 2020 giving Adur & Worthing Councils powers to support local businesses such as public houses, bars, cafés 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 but has been extended until the 30th September 2024.

To assist local businesses the councils have waived the fees until September 2023 but the Act does dictate that applications need to be made online and Adur & Worthing Councils have introduced an online streamline application portal which you will find above. The act does not provide a licence renewal mechanism and a new licence must be applied for each year.

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 are consulted.

Businesses are 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 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

You can read the policy below:

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

Alcohol off-sales:

The Business & Planning Act 2020 has also brought in changes to the Licensing Act 2003 allowing licensed premises such as public houses, bars, cafés 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 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.

The permission and any conditions attached to it are temporary. The permission will lapse on 31st March 2025.

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


A-Boards and Tables & Chairs on the highway

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Page last updated: 30 January 2024

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