Polite reminder to local businesses – have you got a licence to put out tables and chairs on the pavement?

Tables and chairs set out on a pavement

Posted on: 16 April 2019

As forecasters predict warm weather this Easter weekend, Devon County Council is reminding cafés, restaurants and pub owners that a pavement licence is needed before they’re able to put out tables and chairs.

All businesses need a pavement licence if they want to put out tables and chairs on the public highway.

It’s to avoid footpaths becoming blocked to wheelchair users, buggies or prams, or difficult for people with reduced mobility.

“We want everyone to enjoy the good weather, and eating or drinking in the sunshine makes us all feel good,” said a council spokesman. “That’s great, but businesses also need to be mindful, and to make sure that they’re not blocking access on public pavements. If they do want to put out tables and chairs, then we want them to do so in the right way.”

Sometimes, pavements are too narrow to have tables or chairs so the licence application considers the width of the footpath and the impact there would be on the public.

The licence sets out how many tables and chairs can be put out, and where they should be. Neighbouring businesses or residents are asked whether they would mind, before an application is decided. And highways officers can ask business to move tables or chairs if a licence hasn’t been permitted or if they’re putting out furniture that isn’t as per their permission. And there could be a fine.

A licence costs £85 a year to renew, or £200 if it’s new. They are non-transferable, so a new licence would be needed if there’s a change of business ownership. And they’re available from Devon County Council, except in Exeter, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and Totnes, where local councils administrate them.

“A vibrant café culture in our towns is good for the economy and our local communities. We want to encourage it, but we want to help businesses do it right.”

For more information and to apply for a licence visit our webpage.

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