Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Monday, December 5 2011
Tables and Chairs on the Highway
A Guidance Note for Applicants
1.1 EASTLEIGH BOROUGH supports and
encourages the provision of external tables and chairs outside
cafes and restaurants, as they make a positive contribution by
adding vitality, colour, life and interest to the street scene.
They can help maximise the use of public spaces, aid the local
economy and add to the facilities offered to people who visit,
live, and work in the Borough.
1.2 Whilst the provision of
external seated areas is encouraged, it is important that they are
properly administered and managed to ensure that they meet the high
standards expected in Eastleigh Town Centre. They should not
obstruct the highway or create a hazard for pedestrians, especially
for blind, partially sighted and other disabled people.
1.3 This guide is intended to help businesses
understand where the provision of tables and chairs might be
encouraged, the permissions needed from the Council and others and
how applications will be assessed. Although each application will
be considered on its merits this guide contains key points which
must be considered in every case.
1.4 Should you wish to establish
and operate seating outside your premises please read this guide
thoroughly to check that your proposal meets all the criteria.
Council officers will also be pleased to offer advice with your
1.5 Table and chair licences will
only be issued to cafes, restaurants, public houses or other
catering establishments that serve food and drink within the
premises and employ sufficient staff to provide table service to
the outside area.
2. Legal Situation
2.1 Before agreeing to licence
furniture, the Council must ensure that the public’s rights to use
the highway are not detrimentally affected.
2.2 The Council’s standards also
need to be complied with for health, safety and environmental
2.3 This guide relates only to the
possible establishment of an area for tables and chairs on a
highway. You should check to establish the status of the land in
question. Land which you consider to be private may in fact have
become highway if the public have enjoyed access over it for at
least twenty years or if the Council have formally adopted the
2.4 Before proceeding it would be
wise to check with the Council’s Transportation and Engineering
unit to establish if any permissions are necessary.
3. Permissions Required
3.1 Permissions to use the highway for external
seated areas are granted by the issue of licences by the Eastleigh
Borough Council as agent for the Highway Authority under Section
115E of the Highways Act 1980.
Tables and chairs placed on the
highway without permission are an illegal obstruction and Hampshire
County Council as Highway Authority will take enforcement action in
3.2 A proposal to extend area beyond the width of
your own frontage also needs the express consent of any other
interested frontager who is affected by the proposal.
3.3 If you wish to serve alcohol in
the area you may need a Licence under the Licensing Act 2003.
Further advice on this can be obtained from email@example.com.
or telephone 02380 834209.
4.1 To a large extent the allowable size and layout will
depend upon the characteristics of the site outside your premises,
the space available, the street furniture, the type of premises,
etc. Ideally it should be seen as an integral part of the main
premises rather than an unrelated after-thought. There are however
a few fundamental principles to follow.
4.2 The tables and chairs should
generally occupy an area directly in front of and be visible from
your existing premises.
4.3 The needs of other users of the
highway should be taken into account e.g. pedestrians, trades
people, adjacent businesses etc. Be a good neighbour!
4.4 A clear pedestrian route must be
maintained for those walking past the premises. This must not be
less than 1.5 metres wide. Two kinds of siting will be considered.
On normal street pavements or narrow footways the tables and chairs
should be placed against the building. The presence of tables and
chairs should never discourage pedestrians from using the
4.5 Emergency exit routes from your own
and adjacent buildings should not be obstructed by the street café
and emergency service vehicles must have access along all streets
at all times, even in pedestrianised streets.
4.6 It is not appropriate to set a
standard size for layouts. Each application will be evaluated
on its merits taking account of the site characteristics, the space
available and the proposed layout.
4.7 The layout and means of enclosure
must provide adequate access and circulation space for all
customers including wheelchair users and those with push chairs,
4.8 Tables and chairs should not be
located where they will impede drivers’ sight lines or obscure
4.9 When designing the layout you should
consider whether your existing toilet and washing facilities are
adequate to accommodate increased customer numbers.
4.10 The area should not adversely affect
the architectural or historic character of a listed building or its
setting or the conservation area in which it is located.
4.11 If it is intended to use the area
during the hours of darkness the applicant should consider the
level of lighting in the proposed café area. Whilst this may be
perfectly adequate for a highway it may need supplementing to allow
your café to operate safely. If it is proposed to attach the
lighting to the building, consent may be needed if the building is
4.12 Once the size and layout is agreed
it is important that it is adhered to at all times. All activities
associated with the café must be contained within the agreed
boundary including all tables, chairs, parasols, planters,
4.13 In all instances, unless it is inappropriate
or impracticable, you will have to provide a portable means of
enclosure for the area such as barriers or planters. These should
be stable and sturdy, not contain protruding parts and have a
tapping rail. Limited advertising may be permitted on the
enclosures but will be restricted to the name of the café only.
They must not be used to advertise services or products sold and
proposed details should be provided with the
4.14 When the area has been agreed a definitive plan
showing boundaries and the dimensions will be attached to, and form
part of, the license. A copy of the Licence and plan must
be kept on the premises at all times and be available for
4.15 This guide does not wish to define a standard style of
furniture, but the furniture should be of a high quality
and uniform style. Only furniture approved by the Council
may be used. The Council reserves the right to reject
applications where inappropriate furniture is proposed.
4.16 When choosing your furniture you
should have regard to the highway surface on which it will stand.
Uneven or sloping surfaces may require more sturdy styles of
furniture and tables and chairs with narrow or thin legs may cause
damage to certain paving.
4.17 All furniture should be manufactured
from quality materials preferably metal or wood. It may be
advisable to discuss this at an early stage and certainly before
any furniture is purchased. Full details, including metric
dimensions, materials and colours, of proposed furniture, ideally
accompanied by photographs, illustrations or drawings, will be
required as part of the application.
4.18 At least one children’s high chair
should be available for customers to use within the area.
4.19 If you propose to use planters to
make your seating area visually appealing, good quality plastic or
glass fibre may be permitted as a means of reducing their weight to
Please Note: If planters are to be
used within your permitted area, these MUST be well maintained with
a vibrant array of bedding plants/flowers. If planters are noted
poorly maintained, without plants, or contain litter, cigarette
stubs, glass products, the Highway Authority will request their
removal with immediate effect.
4.20 The colour of furniture should be
attractive but not too bright, garish or overly reflective. The
colour and design should take account of the needs of people with a
visual impairment and ideally provide a contrast with the
4.21 If you intend to use parasols their
metric dimensions, materials and colour must be specified as part
of the application and their proposed locations shown on the site
layout plan. Parasols, when opened, should be safely secured and
contained entirely within the proposed boundaries to ensure they do
not cause an obstruction or present a danger to customers or
any other users of the highway.
4.22 The design and colour of parasols
will not be restricted to a particular type but they should be made
of high quality materials and fabric and be of a uniform design and
4.23 Canopies, awnings, blinds barriers
etc. which are to be attached to the building may require
advertisement consent or planning permission. Advice should be
sought from the Development Control Unit.
4.24 If you intend to use space heaters
their metric dimensions, materials and colour must be specified as
part of the application and their proposed locations shown on the
site layout plan.
4.25 You will also be required to submit
a formal risk assessment as required by the Management of Health
and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 in support of your application.
This should be carried out by a competent person (someone who has
knowledge of the law, British Standards, and Health and Safety
Executive Codes of Practice and Guidance).
4.26 In considering an application, the
Council will have regard to the inherent safety of the equipment,
its location, storage of Liquid Petroleum Gas cylinders,
maintenance and training arrangements.
4.27 The Council will consider the
adequacy of the risk assessment which must :-
- Identify the hazards e.g. fire, explosion, burns, impact from
- Decide who may be harmed and how.
- Evaluate the risks and decide whether proposed precautions will
be adequate or whether more could be done.
- Record findings,
- Review assessment and revise.
5. Managing the Area
5.1 Waiter/waitress service must be provided at all times.
Customers should not be expected or encouraged to use the normal
premises to order or collect food or drinks.
5.2 The crockery and cutlery used in street
cafes should be of good quality and a uniform style. Menus should
be readily available either at the tables or on request.
5.3 Customers are able to should be able to
purchase both food and drink at street cafes at
all times. This is intended to create a relaxed and sociable
European style of eating and drinking that will appeal to a wide
range of customers. Applications for the sale of drinks
only, particularly for the exclusive sale of alcoholic drinks, will
not be allowed.
5.4 The areas are to be used only for the
service and consumption of food and drink. Food and drink must not
be stored or prepared outside the normal premises as there may be
difficulties with temperature control and a risk of contamination.
It is imperative that good food hygiene practices are followed at
5.5 The use of barbecues, rotisseries,
ice cream machines, drinks machines or any other equipment for the
preparation and / or sale of food and drink for consumption off the
premises will not be permitted.
5.6 All the food and drink which is
consumed within the street café area should be ordered and
5.7 All tables must be promptly cleared of all
uneaten food, used crockery, cutlery etc. and properly cleaned of
any spillage immediately they are vacated by
5.8 Any food spilt on the highway must be removed
immediately and the area washed at the earliest opportunity. This
will minimise the likelihood of birds scavenging in the
5.9 If birds roost on buildings or in trees adjacent to the
site, applicants should consider providing parasols or some other
form of cover in order to minimise the risk of food
5.10 The licensee will be responsible
for the cleanliness of the area at all times. Care should also be
taken to ensure that litter does not stray or get blown further a
field. An area of approximately five metres around the site should
be kept clear of any stray or wind blown litter.
5.11 The area should be swept when
necessary to keep it clear of litter and refuse. Spillages and
breakages, especially of glass and crockery, should be cleared up
immediately. Care must be taken to avoid nuisance to customers and
to ensure that hazards are not created during this work.
The area should be thoroughly washed at the end of each
5.12 At least one suitable litter bin
must be provided at all times of operation. Wheelie bins are not
suitable for this purpose.
5.13 If the area is “substantially enclosed” smoking may
not be allowed. Further information on this is available from
telephone 02380 688462. If smoking is not permitted a “No
Smoking” sign should be placed on each table.
5.14 If smoking is permitted each table
should be provided with an ashtray which should be emptied each
time the table is cleared. Smoking related litter bins free
standing to be taken in at the end of the day. At the end
of each day all discarded cigarette stubs must be
5.15 All tables and chairs and other
equipment must be properly maintained and kept in a clean, tidy and
safe condition at all times.
5.16 Failure to comply with the
cleaning requirements will jeopardise renewal of the licence.
Failure to comply with them at the end of the day may result in the
Council carrying out the work for which the licensee will be
5.17 It will be the responsibility of the
licensee to ensure that the area is operated in accordance with
these guidelines and the conditions of the licence. The area should
be managed and maintained to the same standards as the interior of
5.18 The site must be operated in a safe
and efficient manner ensuring that there is no safety risk or
nuisance caused to other users of the highway or nearby
5.19 The area should be kept under
supervision at all times of its operation and all patrons/customers
should be seated at all times. Patrons/customers are not permitted
to drink whilst standing in the café area.
5.20 The Council will not permit any
fixtures to or any excavation of any kind to the surface of the
5.21 Every effort should be made to avoid
causing damage to the highway or adjacent property. The cost of
rectifying any damage to the highway surface or to street furniture
caused by any activity connected with operation may be recharged to
5.22 The Police will be consulted on all
5.23 The licensee is responsible for the satisfactory
conduct of people within the street café. Rowdy or unruly behaviour
may lead to the suspension or termination of the licence.
5.24 Sound levels of any music, whether
amplified or not, must be reasonable and must not cause a nuisance
to any residents or businesses in the vicinity or to any other
users of the highway.
5.25 The licensee will be required to
indemnify the Council against all actions, demands, costs, charges
or expenses arising from using the highway under the permission
5.26 The Council will, therefore, require
the licensee to take out third party public liability insurance in
the sum of at least £5,000,000 with an insurance company of repute
to be approved by the Council. Details of the third party liability
insurance should be enclosed with the licence application.
5.27 Granting a licence does not imply an
exclusive right to the area. The operator should be aware that the
Council reserves the right to gain access to the area for cleaning,
repairing and maintaining the highway or street furniture. Other
organisations, such as statutory undertakers, may also require
access for maintenance and repair of their equipment. The Council
therefore reserves the right to suspend the licence temporarily if,
for any reason, it becomes necessary.
5.28 The Council will not permit any
wheeled refuse containers, beer kegs, bottle crates, A-boards or
advertising signs or any other unsightly or unapproved items to be
placed on or adjacent to the street café area.
The Council will need to be satisfied that
applicants have made satisfactory arrangements for the storage and
collection of all refuse associated with their business.
5.29 The Council reserves the right to
refuse a licence to any applicant who has not made suitable
arrangements for the internal storage and collection of refuse and
to withdraw the licence if the approved arrangements are not
Hours of Operation
5.30 The Council does not wish to be too
prescriptive on the hours of operation. However, the area will not
be permitted to remain open later than 11.00 pm. The proposed hours
of operation will need to be included on your application.
All furniture, etc is to be removed and the street café
area swept and washed within 30 minutes of closing.
5.31 In certain pedestrianised areas the
highway remains open to vehicular traffic during part of the
working day, if the presence of tables and chairs on such highways
would obstruct the free flow of traffic it may be necessary to
restrict the opening hours of cafes to between these times. In any
case, the Council reserve the right to stipulate the hours between
which the street café can operate.
6. Getting The Permissions Needed
6.1 If you propose to extend the area
beyond the width of your own frontage the Council will need to be
certain that agreement has been reached with any neighbour whose
frontage is affected by the proposal before it can approve your
application. Although agreement cannot be unreasonably withheld we
cannot force anyone to agree. Letters confirming these agreements
should be forwarded with your application.
6.2 It is recommended that you seek
advice before you submit your application. Council officers will be
pleased to provide advice on specific cases before the formal
application is made. This does not guarantee approval of
permissions being sought but it may help to minimise expenditure on
preparing an application and save expenditure in cases where an
application would be turned down. We are here to help.
6.3 To apply for your permission to use
the highway for the siting of tables and chairs you will need to
complete an application form for a licence.
6.4 You should enclose with your
application details of the furniture, parasols and the means of
enclosure to be used. These details should include their metric
dimensions, colours, materials, etc., as well as drawings, photos
or pictures of the proposed items.
7. How Long Will It Take?
7.1 Under the terms of the Highways Act
1980 the Council has to ensure that applications for licences are
advertised for not less than 28 days by posting notices in the
vicinity of the proposed street cafe. These notices set out details
of the proposals and invite representations to be made by people
who may be affected. The notice is reproduced with the
7.2 As each application is different,
then the time taken to process them will inevitably vary. In
general, it is estimated that it will take approximately two months
to process an application from its receipt to issuing a licence.
The application process will be expedited if your proposal complies
with the good practice procedures contained in these guidelines,
and your application is accompanied by all the required supporting
8. What Will It Cost?
8.1 The fee for processing an application
is £150 for a licence which covers the administrative and legal
costs incurred in the preparation and issue. The licence will
need to be renewed annually.
9. The street café in operation
9.1 Licences issued by Eastleigh Borough
Council are not transferable and should not, therefore, be regarded
as a transferable asset.
9.2 Licences are normally granted for a
maximum of one year and are renewable annually at the discretion of
the County Council.
9.3 The licence will include a number of
terms and conditions based on these guidelines that must be
The Council will carry out periodic
inspections to make sure that all the terms and conditions of the
licence are being adhered to. These guidance notes MUST be kept on
your premises at all times.
9.4 The Council may suspend or terminate
a licence if any of the conditions of the licence are breached.
10.1 Applications should be
returned for the attention of:
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Eastleigh Borough Council
Transportation and Engineering