Highway licensing - advertising boards, shop displays, and tables and chairs

Apply for a licence to display advertising or have tables and chairs outside your business.

Items on the public highway such as advertising boards, shop displays, tables and chairs, planters and pots are licensed or monitored by the Highway Enforcement Team.

If you wish to report such an item that you believe to be an obstruction please complete our obstructions on the public highway report form.

What we do

The team is working with disabled people, traders' associations, access groups and others to achieve a compromise between all users of the highway. This allows certain items to be placed on the street while still protecting access rights and improving safety.

Where we do it

The Highway Enforcement Team only has jurisdiction over the public highway. It has no authority over the very many patches of private or council property that adjoin the highway. It has no say in advertising or billboards on private land.

For control purposes, we only enforce the licensing of items on the highway in the main shopping/busiest areas of the city. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The Lanes
  • The North Laine
  • Brunswick and Adelaide
  • George Street, Hove
  • London Road
  • Rottingdean Village Centre
  • St. James Street area of Kemptown
  • Seven Dials
  • Western Road
  • Preston Street
  • Queens Road
  • West Street
  • North Street

All traders in these areas who want to put things on the public highway need to have written permission (a licence). These licences specify where items can be placed and the maximum area that can be taken up..

On some sites metal studs or markings in paint/tape help to show the limits of licensed areas or the positions of boards. The positions are based upon the best possible compromise between the needs and rights of all highway users.

Regular visits by the council's Highway Enforcement Officers take place in all these areas to check that traders have a licence and are operating under its conditions.

The licensed highway

Items placed on the public highway outside of these areas do not normally require a formal licence, however the placement and quantity of items should follow the principles of the licensing conditions. In other words, we would not allow tables and chairs to restrict the footway to less than 1.5m.

Because of the topography and history of the city, many public pavements are narrow. However, we will not license items on the public highway if there is less than 1.5m remaining. This measurement should leave a safe clear width of pavement for a wheelchair or double-buggy.

Please note that the Highway Enforcement Team has no authority over licences for buskers, street traders or pedlars. Street traders' licences and other permissions (for stalls not associated with shops, burger vans, charity collections and so on) are dealt with by the Environmental Health and licensing team. More information can be found on our Street Trading page.

Get a licence

Apply for an advertising board or a shop display licence

If you'd like to apply for a licence to place an advertising board or a shop display on the public highway, read our licensing conditions.

Licensing conditions for advertising boards.  

Licensing conditions for shop displays.  

Apply for advertising board or shop display licences

You need to register or sign in before you can apply.

Tables and Chairs Licence

The government introduced new legislation during 2020 as part of its response to Coronavirus. The Business and Planning Act 2020 makes it easier for premises serving food and drink such as bars, restaurants and pubs to seat and serve customers outdoors through temporary changes to Highway licensing procedures and alcohol licensing. 

The act introduced a “pavement licence”, for the placement of furniture such as tables and chairs on the public highway outside their premises which will enable them to maximise their capacity. The government has now extended this legislation for a further year until 30 September 2024. The licence fee is £100.

All tables and chairs licences must adhere to our standard conditions. Read our Table and Chairs Licence Conditions fully before applying.

The application process under the Business and Planning Act 2020  requires that you display a 5 working day notice in your window when you apply.

Apply for a tables and chair licence 

You need to register or sign in before you can apply.

You can also view and comment on current applications for tables and chairs licences during the full 7-day notice period, following the date that the application is received by the Council.


For further information please email pavement.licensing@brighton-hove.gov.uk or  phone 01273 292 071.