The Covid-19 pandemic affected businesses across the economy causing many to cease trading for several months while others have had to significantly modify their operations. As the economy started to re-open, on 25 June 2020 the Government announced further and urgent relaxation to planning and licensing laws to help the hospitality industry recover from the coronavirus lockdown by removing short term obstacles that could get in their way.

The Business and Planning Act, received Royal Accent on 22nd July 2020, and introduced a temporary fast-track process for these businesses to obtain permission, in the form of a “pavement licence”, from Fylde Borough Council for the placement of furniture such as tables and chairs on the pavement outside their premise which will enabled them to maximise their capacity whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.

In March 2024, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 made permanent the temporary provisions set out in the Business and Planning Act (BPA) 2020.

The consultation period for applications is now 14 days with a maximum fee of £500 for first time applications and £350 maximum for renewals. Whilst the appropriate fee is being determined, the current application fee at Fylde remains at £100.

Tables and chairs placed on the highway without permission can be illegal as they could amount to an obstruction. However, permission to use the highway for pavement cafes may be granted by the Council under the Business and Planning Act 2020.

Accordingly, whilst the Council wishes to encourage pavement cafes, it is important that they are properly located and managed. This is to ensure that they meet the standards we expect in Fylde and that they do not obstruct the highway nor create a hazard for pedestrians, especially for blind, partially sighted and other disabled people.