Apply for a table and chairs or pavement licence

A new, temporary Pavement Licence has been created due to the pandemic, but this does not replace the Table and Chairs Licence.

Apply for a tables and chairs licence

You will need this licence if you plan to use tables and chairs outside your business.

If you are a business such as a restaurant, bar or café, under the London Local Authorities Act 1990 you need permission to place tables and chairs on the public highway.

The placing of tables and chairs, or the sale or display of goods or receptacles without the required licence, is an offence under section 137 and 149 of the Highways Act 1980, and section 38 of the London Local Authorities Act 1990. It carries a maximum fine of £1,000 upon conviction.

Costs for this service

The total cost for this service is calculated as your application fee plus the cost of your actual licence.

When calculating the total amount you will have to pay for your tables and chairs licence, remember that:

  • the first two chairs are free
  • the cost of each chair depends on the banding of the road your business is on (find out which band your business is in using our road list)
  • after 7.00pm there is an hourly charge for each chair.
Road Band Total cost per chair up until 7.00pm Hourly cost per chair from 7.00pm onwards
A £51 per chair £16.50 per hour
B £35 per chair £9.75 per hour
C £24.50 per chair £5.75 per hour

The formula is:

  • (Total number of chairs – 2) x (Banding cost) + application fee.

If you will have chairs out after 7.00pm, the next step to this is:

  • (Cost per hour) x (the number of hours you are opened after 7.00pm) + application fee.

Do it online

Apply for a tables and chairs licence

The application fee for applying for a licence using our online portal is £125, and applications must be submitted before the 1 April each year.

The discounted online application fee recognises the lower administration costs associated with processing the electronic online application rather than a postal application.

Please note that the fee for the application does not cover the cost of the licence. Both fees must be paid in full before a licence can be issued to you.

Online application queries

If you have any difficulty applying online, please let us know via our online form:

Report an issue via the tables and chairs licence form 

You can also email enforcementinvestigations@lambeth.gov.uk.

If you have any questions about the online application process, or required documents for your application, please refer to the 'What you need to know section' before completing a query form.

Terms and conditions

What you need to know...

Documents to provide

To apply for your licence you will need to provide us with:

  • proof of address, such as a recent utility bill, a current Council Tax bill or a bank or building society statement dated within the last three months 
  • public liability insurance, which provides cover against claims made by members of the public or clients who have suffered an injury or damage (including to their property) in connection to your business
  • proof of national insurance, which can be found on your payslip, your P60, or on letters about your tax, pension or benefits
  • proof of premises address
  • a sketch or layout of the area that you wish to place your tables and chairs. This document should illustrate that there is enough clearance for pedestrians, in line with the required space stated in your application.

Next steps

Following a new licence application, we will carry out a site visit. When inspecting a site, we will take into account:

  • street furniture, or anything that may cause an obstruction if the licence is granted
  • how busy the street is
  • historical existence of trading.

Once we have done this, we then consult with:

  • our Transport and Highways department
  • Transport for London (if the premises is on a Red Route)
  • neighbours who live immediately above or beside the premises.

This can take up to 21 days, which is why we encourage you to apply for your licence with plenty of time in advance of you needing it.

If you have had a licence before and you’re merely renewing your licence, you may not be subject to a site inspection. However, if your renewal request is in any way different to the previous year’s, we will likely arrange for a visit to be carried out before we issue your licence. The council will routinely check premises to make sure that what is displayed on-street accurately matches what is stated on your licence application.

How long the licence lasts

A licence is temporary, lasting a maximum of one year. Your licence starts on the day your application has been approved, and will finish on 31 March regardless of when we issued the licence.

The licence fee is fixed, regardless of the amount of time between when you applied for the licence and its expiry date on 31 March.

We can withdraw a licence if valid complaints are received after the licence has been granted, or if you breach its terms and conditions.

Tables and chairs on private property

You will still need a licence under Section 21 of the London Local Authorities Act 1990, which defines a 'street' for the purposes of licensing amenities on the public highway. It's explained as any road or footway, or any other area not being within permanently enclosed premises, within seven metres of any road or footway to which the public have access without payment.

If you think your goods are on private property please contact us on 020 7926 9000. We may ask you to provide legal documentation to support this.