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Pavement licences

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the government introduced a simpler licensing process to help support businesses to operate safely while social distancing measures were in place. 

This has helped businesses used for the sale of food and drink to apply to use the public highway next to their business for outdoor seating areas. This simpler process has remained in place since.

A pavement licence allows businesses to place removable furniture in agreed areas near their business. We will take the type of furniture and its purpose into consideration if you apply for a licence.

If you have any queries about pavement licences, please email

Applying for a pavement licence

We recommended that you talk to neighbouring businesses before applying. This will help you take noise and nuisance issues into account in your application.

A pavement licence only permits the placing of furniture on the highway. Other regulatory frameworks still apply, such as alcohol licensing and registration requirements for food businesses.

If your application is successful, it will be granted until 30 September 2024. It will be subject to conditions set out in the Business and Planning Act 2020 published by the Secretary of State and local conditions set by Gateshead Council.

There are two national conditions which apply to all pavement licences, a 'No-Obstruction' condition and a 'Smoke-Free seating condition'.

The No-Obstruction condition seeks to ensure that furniture placed on the highway under the authority of a pavement licences does not:

  • prevent traffic, other than vehicular traffic, from entering the relevant highway at a place where such traffic could otherwise enter it, passing along the relevant highway, having normal access to premises adjoining the relevant highway
  • prevent any use of vehicles which is permitted by a pedestrian planning order or which is not prohibited by a traffic order
  • prevent statutory undertakers having access to any apparatus of theirs under, in, on or over the highway
  • prevent the operator of an electronic communications code network having access to any electronic communications apparatus kept installed for the purposes of that network under, in, on or over the highway

When we are considering an application for a pavement licence we will have regard to the needs of disabled people and the recommended distances required for access by disabled people as set out in Section 4.1 of the guidance issued by the Secretary of State.

The Smoke-Free seating condition seeks to ensure that where furniture placed on a highway under a pavement licence consists of seating for use by persons for the purpose of consuming food and drink, the licence holder must make reasonable provision for seating where smoking is not permitted.

When we are considering an application for a pavement licence and whether a licence holder has made reasonable provision for seating where smoking is not permitted, we will have regard to Section 4.2 of the guidance issued by the Secretary of State.

View the local conditions set by Gateshead Council (PDF) [426KB] (opens new window) .

It is recommended that you make sure you are familiar with these conditions and that you are able to comply with them.

You will need to ensure that the following arrangements are met. If they are not, you will not be granted a licence and any application fee will not be reimbursed:

  • that on a footway, 1.8m (1800mm) minimum clear footway remains for use
  • in pedestrianised areas, a 3m (3000mm) minimum clear highway remains to allow delivery by vehicles and emergency vehicles
  • a cycle route with shared paths will not be used for table placement and a minimum of 1.8m (1800mm) must be available on the pedestrian section of the highway without including the cycle facility width

Apply for a licence

During the application you will need to upload a location plan, a layout plan and a copy of your public liability insurance.

We recommend that you prepare these documents in advance and have them ready to upload when you complete your application.

If you need advice on this please email

The cost of processing your application is £100. We will take payment at the end of the application, so you will need to have your card details ready.

You will not be able to submit your application unless all of the required information and documentation is provided and payment is made.

Apply for a licence

After you've applied

You will receive an email confirmation once you have submitted your application. This will contain an application reference and a payment reference for your records.

The application will be subject to a public consultation period of seven days. This begins the day after your submitted your application. We will post notice of the application on our website and also send it for consideration to the following consultees:  

  • Northumbria Police
  • Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
  • Traffic Planning and Engineering, Gateshead Council
  • Public Health, Gateshead Council
  • Development Management, Gateshead Council
  • Trading Standards, Gateshead Council
  • Licensing, Gateshead Council
  • Environmental Health, Gateshead Council


As part of the consultation process you need to fix a notice to your premises on the same day that you submit your application. This must be in a place where it is easily visible and legible to the public. This needs to stay in place until the end of the seven day consultation period.

Download the Notice template (PDF) [97KB]

You should be able to provide evidence that you have displayed this notice so it's a good idea to take a photograph of it once it is in place.

At the end of the seven day consultation period the Council has a further seven days, starting on the day after the consultation period, to consider any issues raised by the public and the consultees listed above and to determine whether or not the licence should be granted.

You will be informed by email whether your application has been granted or refused.

While licensed

If any condition of the licence is breached during the term of the licence, the licence may be revoked. We may also serve notice on a licence holder to remedy the breach.