Skip to content

Tables and chairs

Date updated: 13/04/2023

A licence is required if you wish to place tables and chairs on the public highway or city walkway. Licences are issued by the City of London Corporation for public highways and city walkways in its geographical area.

A licence is not needed for tables and chairs on private land.

Apply for a table and chairs licence

Apply online

Download a PDF application

Tables and chairs application
Date submitted: 21/01/20

Make sure that you have read and understood the relevant guidance note for applicants before completing your application.

Tables and chairs guidance notes PDF (185KB)
Date submitted: 21/01/20
Tables and chairs conditions PDF (82KB)
Date submitted: 21/01/20
Tables and chairs fees PDF (205KB)
Date submitted: 21/01/20
Tables and chairs policy (537KB)
Date submitted: 21/01/20

Any person operating the business for which the tables and chairs will be used can apply to the City of London for a tables and chairs licence.

The Highways Act 1980 (chapter 66) can be viewed on the government's legislation website. The part of the Act relevant to tables and chairs licences is Part VII A.

View The Highways Act 1980 (c.66)

The application should be accompanied by the following:

  • A location plan to a scale of 1:250 which clearly defines the premises
  • A site plan to a scale of 1:50m or larger - This should show:
  • The proposed area to be licensed outlined in red in relation to the premises and to the kerb line
  • The precise position of the tables and chairs with the furniture drawn to scale
  • The position of any street furniture and trees in the immediate vicinity of the site
  • The position of dropped kerbs, pelican crossings, cycle lanes, parking bays and market pitches, along with any adjoining private forecourt and cellar hatches
  • A photograph or brochure detailing the furniture including the make, finishes and dimensions
  • A completed Tables and Chairs indemnity Certificate (see application form)
  • Details of the proposed hours and days of the week that the licence is required.
  • Details on the location of fire exits and escape hatches next to or within the proposed licence area
  • The appropriate licence fee

Before a licence can be granted it is necessary for the City of London Corporation to seek the consent of all the frontagers* and all those considered to be materially affected. In the case of a city walkway, the Corporation must also seek walkway consent** from the relevant parties.

A public notice will be placed at the site for a period of at least 28 days. The City of London Corporation will also consult the following authorities:

  • The Commissioner of Police City of London
  • City of London Cleansing Services Director
  • Director of the Built Environment (Access Officer)
  • The City Surveyor
  • Director of the Built Environment (Planning)
  • Director of Markets and Consumer Protection (Pollution)
  • In the case of GLA roads administered by Transport for London, their consent is also required. Details of such roads can be provided on request

* Frontagers are owners and occupiers of any premises adjoining the part of the highway on, in or over which an object or structure would be placed or on which facilities for recreation or refreshment or both have been, are being or would be provided. Frontagers have an interest under the Highways Act in proposals to place objects or structures or to provide or operate the facilities wholly or partly between their premises and the centre of the highway.

**Walkway consent means the consent of any person who is the owner or occupier of premises adjoining the Walkway and is a person who, in the opinion of the City of London Corporation is likely to be materially affected or is the owner of the land on, under or above which the walkway subsists. Refer to the Highway Act 1980 Part VIIA for the full definition.

​Any comments received during the consultation period will be taken into consideration by the Corporation when determining an application for a tables and chairs licence.

The City of London Corporation will assess the suitability of a site against the following criteria:

  • Road safety, which takes precedence over all other considerations
  • The pavement shall be at least three metres wide with a residual width of at least two metres
  • Pedestrians should not be forced to walk in the carriageway
  • Tables and/or chairs shall not be placed on a carriageway
  • Sight lines for pedestrian movement and any other obstructions close to the area
  • Changes of direction of movement at junctions, pedestrian crossings and similar locations
  • Access for people with disabilities, existing fire escape routes, refuse disposal and noise and disturbance levels

An appropriate design for furniture will be sought for the vicinity, which has regard to the needs of people with disabilities. Picnic benches are not considered to be appropriate other than in exceptional circumstances.

The City of London will also take into consideration any premises licence issued under the Licensing Act 2003 that relates to the proposed site for tables and chairs. Permission granted under a tables and chairs licence will not exceed any restriction on hours or activity of a premises licence for the same site.

Any licence granted will be valid for a maximum of 12 months and will be subject to standard terms and conditions. The City of London may also attach any other condition it considers appropriate to a tables and chairs licence.

No. This means that your application will not be automatically granted at the end of the consultation period. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application and determine it before you can set up any tables and chairs.

If you have not heard from the licensing team within a reasonable period please contact us by phone on 020 7332 3406 or send an email to the Licensing Team

If a consent has been refused or you are not happy with a condition imposed on a licence granted, there is no statutory right of appeal under the Highways Act 1980. However The City Planning Officer may allow you to make representations to the Planning and Transportation Committee providing the Planning and Transportation Committee did not determine the application in the first instance.​

Please contact the City of London licensing team in the first instance:

In writing to

City of London Licensing Team
Markets and Consumer Protection
PO Box 270
London EC2P 2EJ

020 7332 3406
Email Licensing Team

Any person who has concerns about a premises placing tables and chairs on the public highway or city walkway without the required licence or wishes to make a complaint about a licensed premises should contact the Licensing team by phone on 020 7332 3406 or send an email to the Licensing Team

Public Register

​You can search the Public Register to find out whether premises are licensed for the use of tables and chairs on the public highway or city walkway.

If you would like advice or assistance with an application or licence please contact the licensing team by phone on 020 7332 3406 or send an email to the Licensing Team.