Street cafés – put tables and chairs outside your premises

You need to apply for a licence to place tables and chairs outside your premises on the public highway / pavement. We call this a street cafe licence.

Before you start...

  • You'll need your public liability insurance certificate (minimum of £10 million).
  • It costs £350 for a new licence. This is valid for 1 year. The fee to renew an existing licence is £175. Costs are non-refundable.
  • You'll need to send us your location and site plans.
  • You'll also need to send us a copy of any required planning permissions and any licences required under the Licensing Act 2003.

If you're in Broxbourne, St Albans or Watford you'll need to apply to them.



Location and site plans to send us

Location Plan

When you apply, you need to include an A4 plan clearly showing the premises and the location of your proposed outdoor seating area.

This should be an accurate Ordnance Survey plan outlining the application site in red and the land you own in blue (1:1250 or 1:500 scale plan as appropriate).

The location plan can be included as part of a larger site plan.

Site Plan

When you apply, we also need a site plan of at least 1:200 showing the precise location and proposed setting out of the tables and chairs.

Make sure your plan shows:

  • access points
  • building lines
  • kerbs
  • dimensions of seating area
  • table and chair arrangement
  • layout of other furniture / items
  • plan and elevation (1:50) of barriers / enclosures.

 

Displaying an advertising notice

You need to complete a Public Notice and display it on or near the premises.

It should be in a location that's easily visible from the street for a period of at least 28 days from the date you apply.

Who you need to consult

You have to send a copy of your application to each of these consultees:

Hertfordshire County Council Highways Business Support Team

Hertfordshire County Council
Highways Business Support Team
First Floor (North West Block)
County Hall
Pegs Lane
Hertford
SG13 8DN

Email: streetcafelicences@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Fire Protection Manager

Fire Protection Manager
Fire Protection
Mundells MU103
AL7 1FT

Email: administration.cfs@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Hertfordshire Police

Hertfordshire Police Headquarters
Stanborough Road
Welwyn Garden City
Hertfordshire
AL8 6XF

Local Planning Officer (district or borough council)

Contact the relevant district or borough council for the area where you're applying for.

Find your nearest district or borough council

Local town or parish council

Contact the relevant town or parish council for the area where you're applying for.

Find your nearest town or parish council

 

Factors we consider

We consider the following factors when reviewing your application:

Size and layout

  • An absolute minimum unobstructed width of 1.5 metres of the highway (measured from the boundary line of the premise) must be available before a street cafe licence is granted. Additional widths may be required in certain locations.
  • Licensed areas will normally be situated outside the main premises leaving an unobstructed 1.5 metre clear gap between the highway and the designated area.
  • The area used must take into account other needs and uses in the vicinity, for example, pedestrian crossings, loading bays, disabled bays and street furniture.
  • Consideration to the size and layout must be given to allow customers with disabilities to access and move around within the licensed area.

Safety and protecting the public

  • We'll consider our duty to protect the public as a key factor when we decide whether to grant or renew a street cafe licence.
  • We won't grant licences if pedestrians are forced to cross a pavement in a dangerous manner.
  • We may refuse applications if there is insufficient space between tables and chairs to enable disabled people (particularly those in wheelchairs) to use the facilities, or if the proposed facility poses a risk to disabled persons on the pavement.
  • We won't grant licences where health and safety risks may arise that can't otherwise be avoided.
  • Furniture must be suitable for the outside use.
  • All items contained within the licensed enclosure must be portable enough to be brought in at the end of the licensed period of each working day. They must be able to be moved quickly in an emergency.

The licensed area

  • Applicants must submit details of the types of furniture that are to be used.
  • Where it's necessary to use barriers to show where the licensed area is, we must agree the types of barriers proposed.
  • Applications in conservation areas will be referred to the conservation officers for consultation. Furniture and barriers must be of a high quality and be in keeping with the characteristics of the area in which it will be used.
  • When the licensed area is not in use, any barriers have to be removed. The only exception will be where planning permission has been sought and arranged for permanent / semi-permanent barrier systems.
  • We won't grant licences where access to local authority or utility company plant and equipment will be restricted.

Crime and public nuisance

  • When considering applications, we'll particularly take into account the views of local police.
  • We'll refuse applications if they're likely to cause excessive amounts of litter, noise, disturbance, smell or other nuisance to users of the pavement / highway or adjacent properties, particularly residential properties.

We may visit the site too, so we can assess any impact fairly.

 

How long you can operate under your licence

We normally grant a licence to operate 8am to 11pm.

We'll consider applications outside of those hours on a case-by-case basis. We'll only grant those applications if there are no outstanding objections.

A licence lasts for 1 year.

You can renew your licence for an additional fee of £171, provided there are no reasons not to renew it. When you renew, we'll also need a new application (including insurance, plans and premises licence).

We won't renew if you have failed to comply with the licence conditions, or if there are highways works planned that will affect your licensed area.

 

Enforcement

We may revoke or cancel a licence if you breach our conditions.

We might also revoke / suspend the licence if the land is required for other purposes, or for any other reason.

We'll give you 28 days notice of our intention to revoke the licence.

You have the right to make representations to us, giving reasons why we shouldn't revoke the licence.  

  1. On the 1st breach of a licence condition, we may issue a written warning.
  2. On the 2nd breach within a 12 month period of the 1st breach, we may issue a final written warning.
  3. A 3rd breach within the same 12 month period may result in the licence being revoked.

 

Licensed Premises

If you're selling alcohol within the licensed area, contact your local licensing officer at your district or borough council to see if you need to vary your current premises licence to include the licensed area.

 

If you have any questions, contact our Licence and Enforcement Team:

 

Read the Policy for cafe licensing (PDF)