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Street cafe licence

You must obtain a street cafe licence to place tables and chairs on a highway in County Durham.

A street cafe is one or more tables and chairs placed on the street that is serviced from a building for the purpose of allowing patrons to sit, eat and drink.

Outdoor cafes on pavements and other areas, such as alleys and passageways, that form part of the highway are required to be licensed  by the County Council as Highway Authority. Highway Amenity Licences are issued under Section 115B of the Highways Act 1980 and are renewable annually.


To apply for a street cafe licence, you must ensure that you are able to provide the following documents:

  • Dimensioned plans showing the details of the proposal, including equipment to be used.
  • A lighting scheme if the licensed area is to operate after dusk
  • Evidence of public liability insurance cover (an unlimited policy with at least £5 million cover per incident/claim is required).
  • Evidence of a premises licence if you wish to serve alcohol at the tables.

Application process

Upon receipt of an application, along with associated documents, a visit will normally be made to the proposed site in order to assess its suitability for licensing. Each application is considered on its own merits. Download Icon for pdf Application Considerations for Tables and Chairs Licence (PDF, 12.6kb)  to view full details of application considerations.

Notice of the application will be given to the police, emergency services, residents and businesses in the immediate vicinity of the licensed area and any other relevant authorities (including utility companies). The notice will detail the proposal and allow for representations to be made within 28 days.

We have a duty to consider all representations that we receive.

Following consultation, a decision will be made regarding the issue of your licence. It will either be issued subject to certain conditions, or refused on reasonable grounds. Download Icon for pdf Tables and Chairs on a Pavement or Road Licence Conditions (Examples) (PDF, 13.9kb)  to see some examples of licence conditions that may be imposed.

A licence will not be granted for a period longer than the normal opening hours of your business. Additional restrictions may also be placed on the licensed area, for example, when it is in close proximity to residential properties, during delivery periods in pedestrianised areas or in accordance with police advice to prevent crime and disorder.

The target completion period for processing a correctly completed application is 60 days from receipt.

Does 'Tacit Consent' apply?

Tacit consent does not apply to this licence. It is in the interest of public safety for us to process your application before it can be granted.

Change in circumstance

Any change in circumstances must be reported immediately to the County Council as this may invalidate your licence.

Failed Application Redress

Please contact us if you need further information.

Applicable fees

The cost of a street cafe licence is £212. An annual fee is payable thereafter and is currently £53.

How to apply


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In partnership with

  • EUGO
Contact us
Strategic Highways
03000 268 104
Our address is:
  • 4th Floor
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ
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