Al Fresco Winter

The Soho Business Alliance and WCC present Guidance on the Provision of Street Furniture and Applying for a Pavement Licence

Winter 2020 to Spring 2021

Closures to be similar; All demise should be the same as previous licenses granted. 

The only change we all need to be aware of: The gates will be better secured and will not cost you anything further than licensing.

End date expected to be April 3rd, 2021. We are in negotiation for Spring & Summer;

We will support all applications for MEMBERS. We will also help with all the Risk Assessments.
Open to appealing for an extension of luncheon hours; Thursday Friday and Saturday lunch requested; We will let you know. We retain the same hours; 5pm to 10pm during Curfew; 11pm out of curfew; Weekends 12 – 10pm / 11pm; Licenses:  If your application gets no response please do go ahead reasonable terms; You must have this displayed for 5 days in your window; NOTE: ** NO RISK ASSESMENT = NO LICENSE *** If you need help with the Risk Assessment, please get in touch

Applying for a Licence



  • If you intend to use an electric space heater you must include your completed risk assessment with your application. Further advice on applying and doing a risk assessment is also available on the website.


  • You will need to display a public notice advertising your application for 5 days, starting from the day after you submit your application. You can find a template on the council’s website.


  • There is a statutory consultation period during which residents or council departments can submit comments on your application.


  • You will find out if your licence has been granted within 14 days.


  • A new pavement licence will run to April 2021.

Risk Assessments for Electric Heaters

As an employer, you are required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm.  Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, section 3, the minimum you must do is:


  • identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk


Assessing risk is just one part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace.


A risk assessment is required for the use of heaters (portable or fixed).

The links below will help you compose this risk assessment.


The risk assessment should identify the following:


  • the activities that are involved in use of heaters (setting up, use of, cleaning and maintenance);
  • the potential hazards;
  • the persons affected by the activity – (think about who could be at risk);
  • the risk, which should include the probability/likelihood of harm, the severity of injury and numbers of persons affected;
  • the control measures that could include, removal of the activity or if this isn’t possible, the measures that are required to reduce the risk.


The hazards you will need to consider are as follows:


  • Fire
  • Electrocution
  • Burns
  • Manual handling
  • Trips and slips
  • Instability (including attached heaters)


This should be submitted as a separate document when applying for a licence for furniture on Westminster land.


Gates and Marshals

We will no longer have to pay for gate marshals. WCC will provide the safe street closure;

There will no longer be access to delivery during the times of street closures, please plan accordingly.

Selecting the type of furniture

  • Gazebo –
    • collapsible or permanent depending on your street or space. Those with barrier extensions should be able to have semi-permanent.
    • 50% open to air; (2 sides rolled up- common sense please but you must keep air flow)
    • on street with timed closures need completely collapsible structure for open street times
    • On permanent structures please ensure the night safety is taken into consideration.
  • All furniture and equipment should be removeable and, use tables and chairs which are easily folded or stacked.


  • Choose furniture, which is strong, stable and durable enough for heavy use and is easily wiped down and dried after rain or cleaning. Avoid plastic garden furniture as it is unlikely to be strong enough for constant use and could blow away and cause an accident. It also weathers very badly and soon looks dirty.


  • Keep to one design of chair and table, which suits your surroundings and avoid unsuitable styles and materials. Avoid highly ornate, plastic or garishly coloured furniture. Furniture should be well designed and muted tones and durable materials such as timber and steel are most likely to be most appropriate.


  • Furniture with rubber feet reduces noise and helps avoid complaints from neighbours.


  • Umbrellas should be free of advertising in a plain canvas material, capable of being folded down and removed when weather permits, and stable enough to withstand strong winds. They should not overhang footways or interfere with vehicle sight lines and traffic signs. Larger canopies will only be allowed in suitable open areas where they will not interfere with traffic or people movement.


  • The use of advertising is not allowed. The tables and chairs themselves should be kept free of advertising and of any material on loose sheets such as menus or paper napkins that might blow away and litter the area.


  • Permanent barriers are not permitted, as the licensed area must be capable of reverting to use as public highway each night and in the event of an emergency, should it be necessary.


  • Security implications should be considered in the initial design and selection of furniture.

Reducing crime:

  • Provide tables with “property clips” to secure handbags. Tables must be of a design which are suitable for attaching property clips and which can be stacked for storage without damaging the clips.


  • Where possible use chairs with round rather than square backs to deter customers from hanging bags on them.


  • Arrange your furniture layout to reduce opportunities for crime and ensure staff are trained to be alert to all non-customers approaching tables at all times. The presence of staff in the tables and chairs area will act as a deterrent as well as ensuring tables and chairs are cleared promptly preventing littering of the street.


Footway obstruction can occur outside pubs and bars where standing drinkers spill out across the footway and cause a nuisance. We will therefore usually place a condition that all customers must be seated. In some cases we may require or recommend the use of plastic glasses.

Safety Issues

Enclosures for tables and chairs should be easily distinguishable to passers-by, particularly to those who are blind or visually impaired. The materials should be lightweight and portable but stable and strong enough to prevent toppling over if accidentally bumped into. Items such as A boards and menu boards must be kept within the licensed area otherwise, they will be removed by City inspectors for obstructing the highway.


Applicants wishing to use space heaters will need to submit a risk assessment with their applications, as required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992.  A qualified person who has the necessary knowledge of the law, British Standards and the Health and Safety Executive Codes of Practice and Guidance, should prepare this on your behalf. Heaters must be stable and appropriately sited to minimise the chance of accidents.