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Alfresco licence

We want to support bars, cafes and restaurants to succeed in these challenging times and although they may have limited interior space, we want businesses to take advantage of the outside.

We also want to transform the heart of our high streets by highlighting and expanding its alfresco and continental feel and give more space to people to enjoy our beautiful areas and what they have to offer. Offering outdoor or ‘Alfresco’ dining to customers is a great opportunity to increase trade.

In response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) we have temporarily relaxed our position on licences. We have created guidelines to show our position and what is acceptable on our high streets at this time. In order to help you to recover from the pandemic, licences will be free of charge until September 2022. 

Businesses are expected to run their alfresco areas in line with up to date national guidance.

Designated area

  • 2 metres of footway should be left clear past the area at all times
  • it should be located next to your premises and contained within the frontage
  • it should not conflict with accesses or dropped crossings
  • it should not stop the sight lines of drivers, pedestrians, wheelchairs or prams, the blind and partially sighted or hide road signs
  • the area is contained within a clearly marked area
  • if the area is on the road, there should be a clear 3 metres of road free to ensure emergency vehicles can pass
  • in a pedestrianised area the licence may only be granted during these hours
  • timings should be considered to allow street cleansing

You will be required to allow the emergency services into the designated area at any time. You will also need to comply with the instructions of the Council, Police, Fire Officer, Statutory Undertakers or any other person or body with a statutory interest in this respect. Under such circumstances you will have no option to a claim for loss of trade.


The area must be marked by clear barriers. These should be robust and designed to resist being blown over by wind and passing traffic.

  • a smooth panel/handrail fixed at a height of between 1 metre and 1.2 metres above ground level
  • a tapping rail of at least 15cm depth and a fixed at a height no more than 20cm off ground level

The barriers should be of different colours, such as black and white or other colour combinations. This is so that they can be easily identified by the visually impaired but do not dominate the street.

Hours of operation

The standard hours approved are 8am to 8pm, however you can apply outside of this window, up to 11pm. If it’s in a pedestrianised area, the hours of operation on the road will be the same as the times the road is closed to traffic. All equipment must be removed outside of the hours approved on the licence.


In making this application you are confirming that you are indemnifying Cheshire West and Chester Council against all losses and claims for injury or damage to any person or property which may occur as a result of or in connection with the provision of the facility. For this purpose you must provide proof that you have an insurance policy of at least the sum of £5,000,000 (five million pounds) for one incident with the number of incidents unlimited with an insurance company to be approved by us.

Premise licence

In order to serve alcohol, the area you propose to use must be included in the premises licence required for the supply of alcohol. You may need to apply for an amendment to your licence if this is not included within your designated area. This is a separate process and obtaining a Highways Act licence does not guarantee that an extension to a premises licence will be granted

How do I apply?

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

  • a site plan to a scale of no less than 1:100 showing the location and dimensions of the area and its associated furniture (in the case of a pedestrian area, the line of the opposite units must to be shown)
  • a valid insurance policy
  • premise licence (where applicable)
  • it is expected that prior to application, businesses discuss their proposals with nearby businesses

Once the application has been submitted you will be asked to display a notice for five days in the premise the alfresco application relates to. This notice will invite comments and detail how representations can be made. We will provide you with a decision within five working days following the expiry of the notice. Application documents will be shared for consultation purposes.

Successful applicants will be granted a licence free of charge until September 2022. If you wish to make changes over this period you need to fill out the same form. We will notify you when it is time for renewal.

If you intend to use the stall area on The Rows, you will be required to carry out an additional risk assessment complying with Building Control Regulations regarding railing height, electrical testing and recognition of safety issues caused by bad weather. 

Please tick this box to confirm you have read and understood the minimum requirements and understand that failure to comply may result in you being asked to remove your dining area from the area.


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