The Business and Planning Bill, which includes new Pavement Café Licence application procedures, has received Royal Assent and has come into force today, so the Guidance is no longer draft, and the Bill is now the Business and Planning Act 2020.
Some key points about the new legislation & guidance:
- The fee for applying for a licence under the new process is capped at £100
- The consultation period is 5 working days (excluding public holidays) starting the day after the application is sent electronically to the authority.
- If the local authority does not determine the application before the end of the determination period (which is 5 working days beginning with the first day after the end of the public consultation period, excluding public holidays), the licence is deemed to have been granted for a year (but not beyond 30 September 2021) and the business can place the proposed furniture such as tables and chairs within the area set out in the application for the purpose or purposes proposed.
- If a local authority determines an application before the end of the determination period (which is 5 working days, beginning with the first day after the end of the public consultation period, excluding public holidays) the authority can specify the duration of the licence, subject to a minimum duration of 3 months. The expectation is that local authorities will grant licences for 12 months or more
- The grant of a pavement licence only permits the placing of furniture on the highway, it doesn’t permit the sale of alcohol or operation as a food business– separate provisions still apply.
- This is a temporary measure to support businesses while social distancing measures may still be in place. As it is uncertain how long some form of social distancing measures will be in place for, the new process will remain in place until the end of September 2021
- If an applicant has already applied for permission to place furniture on the highway under the existing regime and their application has not been determined, they may proceed with that application. However, that applicant may opt to make a fresh application for a pavement licence under the new process. In those circumstances the pending application will be deemed to have been withdrawn.
- The 2020 Act sets out two conditions which apply to pavement licences which are granted or deemed to be granted these are: a no-obstruction condition and a smoke-free seating condition:
- The no-obstruction condition is a condition that the licence must not have the effect ofpreventing traffic, other than vehicular traffic, from having the access it would normally be expected to have; or preventing vehicle access where this would otherwise be permitted
- The national smoke-free seating condition seeks to ensure customers have greater choice, so that both smokers and non-smokers are able to sit outside, in order to protect public health by reducing risks of COVID transmission. The condition requires a licence-holder to make reasonable provision for seating where smoking is not permitted.
- There is no statutory appeal process for these decisions.
The full guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pavement-licences-draft-guidance/draft-guidance-pavement-licences-outdoor-seating-proposal
I’ve previously sent you the application form for Blackburn with Darwen Pavement Café Licence applications and I’m attaching it again to assist.