Various operators in the past have sought advice from me about the possibility of placing tables and chairs on the pavement outside their licensed premises. Typically these are bars and pubs, but often cafes and restaurants who also, for various reasons, like to offer their customers the opportunity to eat and drink outside. Some operators place tables and chairs outside their premises in order to catch the eye of passing would-be customers and to tempt them into eating and/or drinking at their premises, therefore need to apply for a premises license.
Unfortunately offering such a facility is not as easy as simply heading to the local garden furniture supplier and purchasing tables and chairs. There are various permissions which must first be in place in order to allow you as an operator to do this compliantly.
What is a premises license and how to apply for one?
Firstly, the area on which you are seeking to place the tables and chairs will need, in almost all cases, to be subject to an application for planning permission (change of use) from that of a public highway to that of a restaurant (or bar, pub, cafe as appropriate).
The application to the planning authority will require various plans and can often be contentious, particularly where the area on the pavement which was left for pedestrians to walk would be limited. In addition you may require permission from the Highways Department to place the tables and chairs where you would like.
Beyond this, whether or not the area is reflected correctly in the layout plan attached to your premises licence, you may, and in most local authorities almost certainly will, require a further tables and chairs licence.
The tables and chairs licence is typically issued by a local authority who dictate what provisions are in place for the use of tables and chairs by cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs and accordingly the processes that must be undertaken in order to obtain the ability to place tables and chairs ‘out front’ vary from authority to authority.
Some local authorities require a short application form and fee/renewal to be sent to them every 12 months, while other local authorities require full applications, accompanied by various layout plans and elevation diagrams, in order to allow tables and chairs outside. Some local authorities also require that the plans are correctly reflected on the layout plan attached to the premises licence, while others do not.
If you’re seeking to place tables and chairs outside and need to apply for a premises license, even if only to allow customers to smoke outside, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Levi Solicitors Licensing Department.
Levi Solicitors Licensing Department can assist with any alcohol and entertainment licensing matters. If you would like to speak to a licensing solicitor about your premises or problem call 0113 2971875.