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Alfresco licence

Offering outdoor or ‘Alfresco’ dining to customers is a great opportunity to increase trade. Using outdoor tables and chairs increases your seating capacity and provides an attractive outside area in front of your premises for customers to enjoy.

What is an Alfresco licence?

If the area outside your premises where you want to place tables and chairs is on an adopted highway a licence is required under the Highways Act 1980. Placing items like this, is classed as an obstruction. By ensuring businesses have a licence we can ensure that the area is suitable and the area is well managed and safe.

You will need to renew your licence every 12 months.

Ownership of the area

Before applying you will need to find out who owns the area. Within Cheshire West it is likely that the front of the premises is a footpath or road and we are likely to be responsible for it. Please refer to your land registry deeds for extent of ownership.

If the outside area is not on an adopted highway, you do not require a licence.

Permissions and insurance

If the area outside your premises is adopted, you will need to apply for Planning Permission for change of use. This is because the front is being altered from a public highway for pedestrians to an external dining area.

You will be required to provide evidence of Public Liability Insurance to cover up to £5,000,000. Public Liability This insurance covers third party claims against your business for injury or damage.

It is illegal to place unauthorised furniture on the highway. If you do not have a licence, we will arrange for it to be removed.

How do I apply?

Once the relevant permissions and insurances are in place you can apply for your licence.

You will need the following before you can submit your application:

  • Public Liability Insurance Certificate
  • planning approval document
  • location plan
  • scaled area plan, illustrating dimensions of the planned alfresco area


How much does it cost and what happens next?

Seating for four people or less:
New licence: £160
Renewal: £106

Seating for more than four people:
New licence: £585
Renewal: £351

Once your application has been submitted and we have all the information required to process your application, your licence will be issued to you in around five working days. If anything is missing we will contact you. If you make a payment and your licence is refused, you will be issued with a refund within 10 working days of receiving the decision.


It is important to note that you will only be permitted to provide refreshments within a designated area adjacent to your premises, serviced from your existing business. If the space is insufficient or causes an obstruction to pedestrians and vehicles, your application may be refused.

The designated area will need to be kept clean at all times and you could be charged for the cost of repairing any damage to the highway.

The hours of operation for the facility will be specified on your license and enforced - this is usually also stated on your planning approval.


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