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  • Writer's pictureMalcolm Ireland

Pavement Licenses

Some tables and chairs on a pavement outside a licensed premises

Significant changes are on the horizon with regards to pavement licence permissions.

Fast track pavement licences were introduced under the Business and Planning Act 2020 as a temporary measure to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. They made it a lot quicker and easier to obtain a permission which allowed establishments such as cafes, restaurants and bars to utilise outdoor spaces, expanding their seating capacity to facilitate for social distancing measures. This initiative played a key role in helping businesses adapt and recover during challenging times.

As we move towards a post-pandemic landscape, the provisions that permit fast-track permissions will be coming to an end and therefore it is important to be aware of the upcoming changes and how they may impact your business.

Prior to the introduction of fast-track pavement licence permissions, businesses In the UK were required to adhere to regulations set out under the Highways Act 1980. This gave local authorities ultimate responsibility for overseeing the processes for granting pavement licence applications. Application fees varied depending on the region and the consultation period was 28 days.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill currently proceeding through parliament proposes to make the fast-track pavement licence permissions permanent, but with some proposed changes.

The fee will be a maximum of £500 for a new licence instead of the current maximum of £100, with £350 for each renewal and the consultation and determination periods will be extended from 7 days each to 14 days each. It is not anticipated that this bill will receive royal assent before the current fast-track arrangements come to an end and therefore a further one-year extension to the permissions is currently awaiting approval by parliament. This would extend the current provisions to September 2024 to give time for the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to proceed through parliament and make the fast-track changes permanent.

It is important to note, once the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill receives royal assent, any pavement licence granted under the Highways Act 1980 will automatically expire and a new licence will need to be applied for, so it is recommended that any pavement licence you apply for is under the provisions of the Business and Planning Act 2020. At this time, there is no way of saying when the permanent changes will come into force.

a beer on an outside table

Pavement licences are not a straight-forward area and the above has been heavily summarised, so if you believe it may affect you or if you would like any further information or advice then please contact Malcolm Ireland, Head of Leisure & Licensing at Harrison Drury Solicitors at

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