Tables and Chairs Licence Consultation 2020

Closed 24 Feb 2020

Opened 27 Jan 2020

Results expected 2 Mar 2020

Feedback expected 1 Jun 2020


Welcome to WSCC Licensing of Tables and Chairs Consultation

West Sussex County Council is keen to support vibrant high streets and café culture. Tables and chairs on pavements, when placed and operated appropriately can significantly enhance the public realm, however this does come at a resource cost to the authority which includes the processing, consultation, resolution, monitoring and enforcement of this activity. As a local authority we can recover our reasonable costs in undertaking a licensing activity. 

The fee to licence tables and chairs on the highway had not been uplifted for many years and as such last year we increased to a fee of £520 to reflect a fair consideration of the officer time and a rise in account of inflation.  

Following this increase, we have received a significant amount of negative feedback from traders, members and local councils. The majority of feedback suggested that a sliding scale approach would be preferable to allow for smaller establishments to pay less compared to businesses who wish to place a larger number of covers (a cover is usually a single chair).

Why We Are Consulting

WSCC is now proposing a simple sliding scale charging regime and we would welcome your feedback.

It is proposed to replace the current £520 per annum charge with an initial one-off application fee of £150 as well as an annual charge of £20 per cover per annum requested on the highway. This represents an ongoing cost of just over 5 pence per day per cover. The charges are likely to be subject to annual review in line with inflation.

The proposed charging regime offers significant benefits:

  1. Premises with only a small number of covers will pay a significantly reduced amount.
  2. Premises with a larger number of covers are encouraged to actively consider how many covers they are actually likely to fill on a regular basis or pay a premium for the empty chairs, which can obscure nearby smaller premises, still obstruct the highway and provides an unnecessary obstacle for the visually impaired.
  3. It is easy for inspectors to count the number of covers to enable quick and efficient enforcement if necessary. 

How will this affect businesses?

Most businesses, particularly smaller establishments, will see a significant reduction from the current charge. Larger premises with over 26 covers will see an increase over the current fee of £520.

For example:

  • A business with 8 covers (chairs) will pay a one off £150 application fee and an annual fee of £160 rather than the current ongoing fee of £520 fee per annum.
  • A business with 36 covers (chairs) will pay a pay a one off £150 application fee and an annual fee of £720 rather than the current ongoing fee of £520 fee per annum.

There is currently a separate arrangement for Horsham Town Centre, and this is discussed in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section which also contains background information and further explanatory information. 

If you would like this information in an alternative format, please contact us on the following details:


Tel. 03302226341

If you are deaf or hard of hearing and you have access to an NGT app on your smart phone, laptop or personal computer, then you can contact us on 18001 03302226341.

What Happens Next

We will review any comments, which will inform the decision making process and feed back appropriately by 1 June 2020.


  • All Areas


  • Elected Members
  • District/Borough Councils
  • Parish Councils
  • Town Councils
  • Elected Members/Councillors
  • Food and Beverage Traders


  • Licensing
  • Pavements