Spring is in the air

The weather last week was great and (however short lived it was), it’s been nice to see people sitting outside again to enjoy hospitality. To coincide with the arrival of spring, the Government has released updated guidance to businesses on the rules relating to applications for pavement licences – see here.

A pavement licence is granted by a local authority and allows the licence-holder to place removable furniture (such as tables and chairs) on the highway adjacent to their premises to seat and serve customers. Ordinarily, the fee for a pavement licence application varies depending on the local authority. There is a minimum 28 calendar day public consultation period in respect of a pavement licence application. However, the Government stepped in to help support businesses while social distancing measures were in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Business and Planning Act 2020 temporarily provides a streamlined and cheaper process for businesses to obtain a pavement licence. The temporary pavement licence provisions cap the fee for applying for a pavement licence at £100 and reduce the public consultation period to 5 working days.

All COVID-19 restrictions have now been lifted. However, the streamlined application process for obtaining a pavement licence has been extended. This offers an opportunity for businesses selling food and/or drink to apply for a pavement licence to be in place until 30 September 2022.  The impacts of COVID-19 are likely to be felt for some time to come and the sector continues to face a raft of challenges – this small change may seem like a drop in the ocean.

Other licenses and approvals

It is important to remember that you will need to obtain other necessary licences or approvals in addition to a pavement licence. For example, a premises licence to sell alcohol may be required and food business registration requirements must be complied with.

The Business and Planning Act 2020 temporarily modified 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 also permit the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises. This temporary provision has also been extended to 30 September 2022.

If you would like any further information or guidance in relation pavement licences and making the most of your external trading area, please do not hesitate to contact Lisa Gilligan.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.