Street Cafes

Introduction

Street cafes are now a fashionable part of town centre life in the Royal Borough, adding to the colour and atmosphere and offering a popular service for residents and visitors alike. The pedestrianised areas in particular lend themselves to eating and drinking al fresco in the warmer weather and the Council is keen to encourage good quality, properly designed street cafes which contribute to the relaxing and sociable mood of Windsor and Maidenhead.

A licence is required for a street cafe. This is to ensure that it is properly set up, licensed and operated so that it benefits the business, enhances the town centre and does not cause a problem for other users of the street.

Applying for a licence

Street cafes not on privately owned land must be licensed by the Royal Borough, as the Highways Authority. Three factors are taken into account when considering an application:

  • the amount of space your cafe will remove from the public highway
  • how your proposed cafe will look when it is up and running
  • the effect it may have on local residents, workers, shoppers and visitors.

To apply for a licence, please download and complete the relevant form below. It is a good idea to liaise closely with the Royal Borough before an application is submitted in order to obtain expert advice about the process. Call the Highway Assets Team on 01628 796354.

Following the receipt of an application, a range of Council departments and organisations are consulted to ensure that your proposal is acceptable to them. These include:

  • The Borough Access Officer
  • Planning and Conservation
  • Town Centre Management
  • Legal Services
  • Environmental Health
  • Local Councillors
  • Waste Management
  • Thames Valley Police
  • Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Royal Berkshire Ambulance Service

A public notice will also be displayed close to the site of your proposed cafe so that local people can comment if they wish. After the consultation exercise, if there is significant resistance to the application proceeding, a report will be sent to the Council's Rights of Way and Highway Licensing Panel for consideration. Panel meetings are held every three months (approx) and the report will outline issues relating to your application and the comments received during the consultation process. Members will also need to have evidence that the applicant has public liability insurance of £5 million - an important requirement of the licence application.

Licence conditions

Each application is considered on its merits and its suitability to the local environment. When a licence is granted, the licence holder must adhere to the conditions set out in this guide and on the licence itself, otherwise the Royal Borough will have no choice but to remove any furniture causing an obstruction and may have to consider taking away the licence.

Size, Layout and Means of Enclosure

The Council appreciates that people will want to organise their street cafe in a way that is attractive and will encourage customers to enjoy food and drink from their premises. However, the following factors have to be taken into consideration when planning the cafe layout:

  • Available space
  • Type of premises
  • Street width
  • Street character
  • Number of passers-by
  • Existing street furniture, e.g. benches, planters, lamp posts etc.
  • Residential properties

The needs of people using the highway are of paramount importance when considering cafe layout and size - access and freedom of movement for the disabled, pedestrian flows, access for emergency vehicles etc.

The layout, type and colours of the tables and chairs used, along with access points and the way the cafe is enclosed, also need approval and this information must be provided as part of the application. It is essential that the cafe does not cause an obstruction or inconvenience to members of the public, particularly people who are disabled, so adequate space must be left between tables and chairs for wheelchair access.

When the cafe is in use during licensed hours, it must be enclosed by a removable barrier of approved design with access points to separate it from the main thoroughfare. Outside licensed hours, this barrier needs to be removed to allow free access to the pavement.

Things to remember when planning a street cafe

Every street cafe should be organised according to these important key principles:

  • People walking past the premises must have at least 2 metres of clear footway between the edge of the carriageway and the boundary of the cafe. This is to ensure that pedestrians, particularly the visually impaired, are not obstructed.
  • In a very busy street it may be necessary to leave more than 2 metres of footway space for pedestrians.
  • The way tables and chairs are set out should not prevent or discourage people from using the footway - the route available to them must be straightforward, obvious and unobstructed.
  • The cafe should be located immediately outside the front of the applicant's building so that staff and customers do not have to cross the normal flow of pedestrians.
  • In pedestrianised areas these principles will generally apply, although the special nature of these areas means that applications will be considered on an individual basis.
  • A route for emergency vehicles (minimum 3.5 metres) is required.
  • The cafe - if comprised of a single line of tables and chairs - must have barriers at either end. If it comprises two or more lines of tables and chairs it must be surrounded by a continuous physical barrier on all sides open to the highway. The barrier should be of a style, height, material and colour sympathetic to the local environment.
  • The barrier should be either continuous to the ground or incorporate a lower rail or tap board to help people who are visually impaired.

How the Panel decides

When members of the Rights of Way and Highway Licensing Panel are considering an application they will be making sure that it meets the following requirements:

  • Street cafes will only be allowed on pavements where a minimum width of 2 metres can be left clear and unobstructed for pedestrians.
  • Tables and chairs must be placed at least 1 metre from the face of the building to allow enough space for seated customers.
  • All furniture must be removed from the street outside the times permitted in the licence.
  • Tables and chairs must not be placed in the way of vehicle movements - this is to ensure free and unobstructed access by the emergency services.
  • Toilet facilities must be provided for customers. If the facilities are not suitable for wheelchair users, customers must be made aware of this.
  • Removable barriers must be used to set your cafe apart from the street and these barriers should complement the character of the area.
  • Barriers must be 1 metre high and have a lower tap rail within 0.25 metre of ground level. They should not have sharp edges or protruding parts and should be of lightweight construction so that they are not too visually dominant and can be easily dismantled - although they need to be strong enough to withstand outdoor public use. In some parts of the Royal Borough (eg Conservation Areas) barrier design will be particularly important and come under the Rights of Way Panel's scrutiny.
  • All furniture, displays and umbrellas must be kept inside the barriers. Street furniture provided by the Council, e.g., benches, lighting, bollards etc, should not be included in a licensed area. Use of planters with shrubs, flowers and ornamental trees is encouraged.

Furniture and Visual Impact

The Royal Borough is keen to see street cafes as an integral and attractive part of the town centre scene and to achieve this we expect the design of outdoor furniture to be of a high quality and made of durable materials. The type of street furniture proposed to be used must be submitted as part of the application and if it is considered unsuitable it could be grounds for refusal.

The Council also reserves the right to require certain items of furniture to be removed if they are considered inappropriate, even though they were approved in the original licence application. This could happen if the furniture becomes:

  • unsightly or unsafe through poor maintenance.
  • inappropriate because of new development in the vicinity

Unless agreed, furniture must be removed from the highway outside the times of the

Tables and Chairs

To maintain and enhance the high standards in our town centres the Council expects street cafes to use quality tables and chairs that are stylish and well co-ordinated and in colours that are not garish, bright or overly reflective. White plastic garden-type furniture is not appropriate. Table design should allow use by people in wheelchairs so this needs to be taken this into account when considering the clearance under table tops, position of table legs etc.

Umbrellas

If umbrellas are to be used they must be specified as part of your licence application, including where they are to be placed, their material and colour. They must be positioned so that when open, they cannot spread outside the licensed area and create a potential danger to passers by or vehicles.

New products coming on the market, such as all-in-one outdoor gas heating units, must be authorised by the Rights of Way and Highway Licensing Panel as part of the application on an individual basis.

Limited advertising of the premises or a supplier may be permitted on umbrellas but this must not be dominant and limited to logos of no more than 150mm x 450mm.

Environmental Implications

It is vitally important that the environment - for customers, members of the public, local residents and staff - is a prime consideration in any application. For further information or help regarding Environmental Health matters - telephone 01628 683820 or e-mail us using the Customer Services enquiry form.

Litter/Cleansing

Servicing is a major factor in the appearance of a street cafe and the licence will require tables to be cleared as soon as they become vacant and the area as a whole kept clean, tidy and litter-free. The licensed area and at least 5 metres surrounding it must be swept and kept free of litter and debris at all times.

Noise

The Council must ensure that your street cafe proposal will not result in noise nuisance to nearby residential accommodation or other noise sensitive premises, e.g., solicitors, counselling or therapy services. In certain circumstances this may mean that a cafe can only operate within restricted hours - or, indeed, may not be allowed at all.

No outside music is allowed - either played within the licensed area or conveyed to it from inside your premises.

Other requirements

Some or all of these may be needed, depending on your individual application:

  • Waiter/waitress service must be used.
  • Where alcohol is served within the licensed area, a member of staff must manage the area at all times.
  • Where alcohol is served, unbreakable glass should be used and be of no more than 1/2 pint measures. Bottles will not be permitted.
  • Remember the need for a clear, visible price list which can be easily read by potential, customers, as required by the Price Marking (Food and Drink Premises) Order 1979.
  • Customers must be seated. The cafe is approved in terms of the number of seats and when these are full and customers stand in the licensed area it increases patronage beyond that approved under the terms of the licence. Failure to comply with this, and on recommendation of the police, could result in the licence being revoked.
  • Lighting and heating arrangements for the cafe must be submitted as part of the application. Permanent lighting is not acceptable in the licensed area or the highway. It's worth remembering that lighting may need separate planning permissions and are not covered in the granting of a street cafe licence. No exposed cabling will be permitted across the highway.
  • The licencees should ensure that they have Public Liability Insurance to a value of £5 million. Evidence of this must be submitted with the application - a copy of the insurance certificate is sufficient. The licencee will indemnify the Royal Borough as the Highways Authority against any claims that may arise and is also expected to clear the licensed area for normal highway use outside the times of the licence.
  • Proof of related approvals, such as a Liquor Licence, will be required as part of the application.
  • Statutory undertakers (gas, electricity and water) have the right to carry out work within the highways, so the licensed area must be made available to them at any time.
  • It is the responsibility of the licencee to ensure that the conditions of the licence are adhered to. The Royal Borough, under the Highways Act 1980, has powers to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the licence and to recover any expenses incurred.
  • No items, including food or drink of any description, may be sold on to the public highway from within the approved area.
  • Street cafes will be expected to enhance the local area. Applications that simply seek to place tables and chairs outside without any effort to meet the required standards are likely to be refused.
  • Additional guidelines may be added to licences as and when necessary.
  • Licences are generally granted for a two year period, although they may be for a shorter period if there are particular concerns.
  • Details of the fees are shown on the application form.
  • If any alterations to the highway or to street furniture provided by the Council are required to accommodate the licence they will be paid for by the applicant, e.g. re-location of public seating.
  • Application Form for a Street Cafe

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Modified: 2012-02-14
Published: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 03:30:03
Author: Jennifer Brown
Editor: Andrew.Scott
LGSL PID: 742
RDCMS ID: 7225
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