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The Licensing Act 2003 Statement Of Licensing Policy January 2021

Pavement Licences and External Areas

The introduction of the 'smokefree public places' law has led to an increase in the number of people outside licensed premises. Operators are expected to manage persons smoking in the vicinity of premises so that they do not impede access to the premises and do not cause disturbance. In addition they are expected to provide ash trays or wall mounted cigarette bins for patrons so as to minimise litter.

The provision of tables and chairs outside premises can enhance the attractiveness of a venue, but regard should be had to the need to ensure that the use of such areas will not cause nuisance to the occupiers of other premises in the vicinity.

An application for a premises licence must list all the activities taking place on the premises, detailing where they take place and the hours of operation. This includes any outside drinking in beer gardens, terraces or tables and chairs on the highway. Any outside drinking area should be shown on the floor plan submitted with the application. If an outside drinking area is not included in the operating schedule and shown on the floor plan, then it will not be considered part of the premises licence.

The licensing authority has a number of concerns with respect to the development of external areas to licensed premises and will consider imposing conditions to improve the management of the outside area or restricting the use of these areas to promote the public nuisance objective.

The licensing authority expects that operators will consider imposing time restrictions on the use of outside drinking areas and with regard to premises situated in residential areas, the licensing authority would not normally expect such outside drinking areas to be in use beyond 10.00pm.

Given the affect that an outside drinking area can have on the public nuisance objective in particular, the licensing authority will normally consider an application to add an outside drinking area to an existing licensed premise via a full variation of the premises licence rather than via the minor variation process.

Licensees should also be aware of the possibility of breakages to drinking glasses and glass bottles in outside areas. Consideration should therefore be given to the use of toughened or 'plastic' drinking vessels and other management controls to avoid or lessen the likelihood of broken glass in those areas.

With regard to outside drinking areas, operators should also ensure that they have the correct planning provisions in place and if the outside drinking area is on the public highway, the appropriate permit to place tables and chairs on the pavement or road, as required by Section 115B/E of the Highways Act 1980.