Do I need planning permission for Cafe Windbreaks?
Cafe barriers which mark out seating areas often make a positive impact on high streets by encouraging a community feel and giving a sense of vitality. However, this doesn’t mean that you can erect one anywhere you like. You must always check with your own local Council about their individual legislative requirements before you set up a cafe barrier - even if it’s directly outside your business.
One of the main things Councils will consider when it comes to cafe barriers and windbreaks is whether the proposed area will affect the public right of way. These rules cover footpaths, pavements, marketplaces, verges and parking spaces. Typically, public highways like these can be used for pavement seating areas as long as they do not obstruct passers-by, particularly wheelchair users and the visually impaired; but every local Council will have its own individual guidelines.
You may be required to fill out forms to apply for a ‘Pavement Cafe Licence’; in rarer situations even obtain planning permission. If you wish to serve alcohol in your denoted seating area, this adds another dimension to the licensing required.
The main rule is: if you want to set out a cafe barrier on public land, you will need to reach out to your local Council first.