Apply for a street café and stall licence

Code of practice for street cafés and stalls

Your local authority can grant business owners a street café licence. 

Licence-holders can place removable furniture on the pavement outside named premises.

We have made the process simpler to help businesses secure licences in time for the summer. 

All new and renewed licences will remain in place for a year but not beyond 30 September 2021. This is a temporary arrangement.

We want to help businesses to operate safely while social distancing measures are in place. Business owners will have time to apply for a licence if they wish to extend beyond September 2021.

We encourage applicants to talk to neighbouring businesses before they apply. They should consider any issues around noise and nuisance as part of their proposal.

To whom does the code of practice apply?

It applies anyone who wants to place tables and chairs outside their premises for the first time. It includes owners and managers of:

  • restaurants
  • cafés
  • bars
  • tea rooms
  • coffee shops
  • snack bars

A licence permits a business to use furniture placed on the pavement to:

  • sell or serve food and drink
  • let people consume food and drink supplied by the premises

In Lincolnshire, this includes shop owners who wish to place a stall outside their premises.

Legal situation and licence duration

We usually grant pavement licences under Part 7A of the Highways Act 1980. The fee varies between local authorities. 

Our new process provides a cheaper and easier way for businesses to get a licence. 

The consultation period is five working days, not including Bank Holidays.

We aim to respond to an application within a full ten working days, not including Bank Holidays.

A licence is typically valid for a year but not beyond 30 September 2021. 

We can grant a licence for a shorter period. For example, if there are plans for future changes in the use of road space.

We may impose reasonable conditions on any licence. For example, a limit on the number of chairs and tables, type of furniture or hours of operation.

If we do not respond within a full ten working days, a licence is deemed to have been granted. 

The business can place stalls, tables and chairs as per their application.


There is no charge while coronavirus pandemic measures are in place.


Furniture which business may use includes:

  • counters or stalls for selling or serving food or drink
  • tables, counters or shelves on which to place food or drink
  • chairs, benches or other forms of seating
  • umbrellas, barriers, heaters and other articles used in connection with the outdoor consumption of food and drink

Furniture must not be a permanent fixed structure. It must be removable and easily store away of an evening.

The amount of furniture must not exceed that applied for.  It must not obstruct any building exits or fire appliance access.

Fire risk assessment

If you have an existing fire risk assessment you must update it prior to the siting of any outside furniture.

A fire risk assessment must be carried out prior to use of the following:

  • umbrellas
  • canopies
  • outside heaters

All canopies and umbrellas must be flame retardant if identified as necessary by the fire risk assessment.


We will only grant licences can within the highways listed in section 115A(1) Highways Act 1980. Generally, these are:

  • footpaths restricted to pedestrians
  • or, roads and places to which vehicle access is restricted or prohibited

Highways maintained by Network Rail or over Crown land are exempt. We cannot grant a licence for these.

Alcohol licensing

A street cafe licence only permits the placing of furniture on the highway. 

You must contact your district council to:

  • register a food business
  • apply for an alcohol licence

Planning permission

Businesses do not require planning permission. The licence-holder may use the land for anything as per the licence as long as it is valid.


All applications must include:

  • contact details for the applicant 
  • details about the relevant premises and highways it affects
  • a plan or drawing showing the proposed layout
  • the purpose of the furniture
  • the days of the week and opening hours
  • a description of the type of furniture (for example, tables, chairs, stalls)
  • proof of permission from adjoining properties, if you propose to extend beyond your frontage
  • proof of Public Liability Insurance for a minimum of £5 million


We will provide all applicants with a notice to display on their business premises. It must be visible, legible and on display from the day of the application.

The notice must remain in place for a full five working days, excluding Bank Holidays. Applicants are encouraged to keep evidence of this.

We will consult with:

  • Lincolnshire Police
  • Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue
  • County councillors
  • City, district and borough councils
  • Parish and town councils
  • Local disabled groups
  • City and town centre managers
  • Local Chambers of Trade and Commerce

We will publish all notices on our website.

The public can contact us to make representations by emailing [email protected]


We may revoke a licence when:

  • there is a breach of conditions
  • there are risks to public health or safety. For example, insufficient social distancing measures in place
  • the highway is obstructed other than by anything permitted by the licence
  • anti-social behaviour or a public nuisance occurs. For example, an increase in noise or litter
  • we find the applicant has provided false or misleading statements in their application. For example, they are operating a stall selling hot food but had applied for tables and chairs
  • the applicant did not comply with the consultation process
  • it has become unsuitable for the purpose for which we granted it. For example, the licensed area (or road adjacent) is no longer to be pedestrianised

We may request the temporary removal of street furniture to:

  • allow utility companies to carry out emergency works on the highway
  • carry out urgent repairs to the highway
  • carry out scheduled maintenance of the highway

We will inform licence-holders in advance of all works wherever possible.