Appeal to traders: tell us what you think of ‘sliding scale’ proposals for licensing tables and chairs on pavements

'We have listened to people’s comments about the current flat fee'


Release date: 27 January 2020

Traders are being asked what they think of new proposals for the licensing of tables and chairs on the pavement outside their businesses.

Following feedback on the current flat fee of £520, a consultation on sliding-scale proposals, with charges dependent on the number of covers, went live today.

Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “We have listened to people’s comments about the current flat fee. Most suggested that a sliding-scale approach would be preferable so smaller establishments would pay less compared to businesses which want to place a larger number of covers on the pavement.

“We now propose a one-off, £150 initial application fee. Then the proposed charge would be £20 per cover (a cover is usually a single chair) per annum, which equates to just over 5p per day, per cover. We would really appreciate traders taking the time and trouble to visit our online consultation page and let us know what they think of the proposals.”

The sliding scale encourages businesses with a larger number of covers to carefully consider how many covers they are likely to fill on a regular basis - or face paying a premium for empty chairs, which can obscure nearby smaller premises, obstruct the highway and provide an unnecessary obstacle for the visually impaired.

The consultation runs until 24 February 2020.

Horsham District Council has delegated authority to license tables and chairs in Horsham town centre and will continue to do so, so the results of the consultation will not immediately affect traders there.

Some background:
Placing tables and chairs on pavements increases traders’ floor space, helps businesses and can significantly enhance public spaces. However, if not properly placed, the furniture can cause an obstruction for passers-by, including the visually impaired.

Highway officers carry out regular inspections to ensure the pavement is not unreasonably obstructed and remains safe for the public due to the increased wear caused by the movement of tables and chairs on the footway. The licence fee helps to cover the cost of staff time, administration and other associated costs.

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