Street café licence (table and chairs)

How to request a licence for putting tables and chairs outside restaurants and cafés.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Temporary Street Café License Application Procedures

The Business and Planning Act 2020 has introduced a streamlined and cheaper route for businesses such as cafes, restaurants and bars to get a licence to place furniture on the pavement. The aim of the legislation is to support businesses to operate safely while social distancing measures remain in place. The temporary licensing regime is due to be in place until 30 September 2021 when these provisions are due to expire in accordance with section 10 of the Act. Please contact your local District Council Licensing Team to make a Street Café Licence Application under this new Act. The Government's Coronavirus (Covid19) Pavement License Guidance provides further information. After 30 September 2021 the usual street café application procedure will apply, as below.

We get a lot of requests to allow tables and chairs outside restaurants and cafés, particularly in pedestrian areas and locations where there are wide pathways. As long as pedestrians can move freely in these areas, permission will usually be granted.

The licence is renewable annually.

A summary of the regulations regarding pavement licences

How to apply for permission

Applications should include a site plan 1:100 or 1:200 showing:

  • property boundary and proposed boundary
  • building line
  • kerb line
  • table layout
  • points of access and dimensions
  • trading times and days
  • a copy of third party liability insurance for a minimum of £10 million in respect of a single incident, which must indemnify Oxfordshire County Council against all claims of injury, damage or loss.
  • details of brand, type and materials of proposed furniture
  • contact details.


There is a minimum charge of £204 for applying for this licence, which will not be refunded if your application is refused. This is the fee for a licence that would cover you for up to two tables and eight seats for one year.

If your application is for more than this number, you will be refunded the difference between the fee paid and this minimum charge if your application is refused.

  • Up to two tables and eight seats - £204
  • 3-4 tables and up to 16 seats - £510
  • 5-10 tables and up to 40 seats - £918
  • 11 or more tables and over 40 seats - £1428

Payment can be made electronically by any debit or credit card issued by a bank in the European Economic Area (EEA).


You can expect your licence to be processed within 90 working days.

Does tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

How to apply

You can apply online using GOV.UK:

Or you can apply by email to

How we decide

Our role is to ensure that pedestrians have access to pathways. To ensure that pedestrians' rights are not affected, we will consider the following in consultation with your district council:

  • Is the area a highway?
  • Width of pavement or proposed highway.
  • Is it a prohibited street where no street trading is permitted?
  • Sight lines.

In the event of a complaint contact the trader, preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of posting/delivery). If that fails and you are located in the UK, contact Consumer Direct for advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.