New legislation for Covid-19 recovery

Parliament passed a new bill on 22 July 2020 in response to the impact of Covid–19 on the leisure and entertainment industry: the Business and Planning Act 2020. This legislation introduces a new licensing scheme for pavement licences and it is intended to promote outdoor dining and socialising. This scheme will allow businesses to apply to place tables, chairs, barriers and similar items on the highway adjacent to the premises concerned, for the consumption of food and drink.

This is a streamlined process to allow businesses to secure these licences quickly and easily, and where granted, they will remain in force for a year but not beyond 30 September 2021. The Business and Planning Act 2020 (Pavement Licences) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, which extends temporary pavement licence provisions to 30 September 2022, has now come into effect. These Regulations do not include provision for automatic extensions of existing pavement licences.  What it does is extend the emergency legislation for a further year. The transitional arrangements are that pavement licences issued before 20 July 2021 will need to reapply before the expiry of their licences.

Pavement licences granted on or after 20 July 2021 will be issued to 30 September 2022.

This pavement licence scheme does not replace the existing scheme, where councils may give consent for tables and chairs to be placed on the highway. However, it does provide a cheaper, easier and quicker way for businesses to obtain a pavement licence for the short term.

Licences for objects on the highway

You need permission to place an object on the public highway that will cause an obstruction.

Permission for items such as cranes, skips, scaffolding, highways occupation and highways projection are available from Gloucestershire County Council. Please refer to the Gloucestershire County Council website for details.

Our “Special procedure for occasional street trading and objects on the highway” provides special guidance for applications for occasional street trading or consent to place objects on the highway where the application(s) relates to some form of promotional activity.

What is “public highway”?

An object can be any physical thing that will obstruct the free movement of people on the public highway.  Most commonly, this includes ‘A’ board advertising structures, tables and chairs and promotional activity.

A highway is defined in common law as: "all roads, bridges, carriageways, cartways, horseways, bridleways, footways, causeways, churchways, and pavements over which there exists a public right of passage, that is to say a right for all Her Majesty's subjects at all seasons of the year freely and at their will to pass and repass without let or hindrance".

It is important to note that privately maintained highway can also be classed as public highway if there exists a public right of way over it.

If you are unsure about the legal status of any highway, please contact us. You can also refer to our licensing policy for more guidance.