Apply for a street cafe consent

If you wish to place tables and chairs outside your premises on any part of the public road (this can include lanes, footways and other pedestrian areas as well as the carriageway) then you will require consent from our Roads team. Any such consent, if granted, would only be for occupation of the road (Section 59 of Roads (Scotland) Act 1984) and the applicants may still require consent for planning permission and alcohol licensing (view planning guidance on enabling business operations and coronavirus specific guidance on licensing).

The demands on street space may change in response to the changing situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and we reserve the right to withdraw any consent where we feel it is necessary or appropriate.

We are not currently charging a fee for applications for consent for occupation of the road by street cafes.

Acceptable locations

Street cafe consent can only be granted for sections of footway immediately outside the applicant’s premises and applications shall only be considered where the primary business carried on at that premises is the serving of food and drink. Consideration should be given to the impact the proposal would have on other road users, particularly pedestrians. A clearance of a minimum of 1.8m must be maintained from any furniture (including bases) to any other obstruction in the footway. This minimum clearance value may be increased at the discretion of Roads officers when deemed to be necessary, such as at locations with high pedestrian flows. It should be noted that, during this period when the maintenance of physical distancing measures is required as a result of the pandemic, significantly greater footway widths will be required for the passage of pedestrians and in many instances there will not be sufficient space left to accommodate other uses.

All furniture must be contained within the street cafe boundary and must not be allowed to obscure any signs nor adversely limit sight lines. The street cafe layout has to designed and maintained to ensure there is no obstruction to emergency exits or access by emergency services. Fire hydrants must be kept clear.

What to include in your application

Applications for permission to operate a street cafe in the public road (Section 59 consent) should be sent by email to and must include:

  • An A4 location plan (suggested Scale 1:500) showing the premises and location of proposed outdoor seating area
  • A detailed site plan (suggested scale 1:200)
  • A statement of management arrangements
  • Details of furniture and barriers or enclosures to be used
  • Evidence of Public Liability Insurance cover

The details site plan has to show the following:

  • Building lines, kerb lines and other street furniture such as lighting columns, bollards, signposts
  • Access points
  • Extents of proposed street cafe area with dimensions and clearances to nearby street furniture or kerblines shown
  • Arrangement of tables and chairs

Consents and standard conditions

Where section 59 consent is granted to operate a street cafe in the public road it shall be:

  • Personal to the applicant and non-transferable
  • Limited to a period not greater than 3 months
  • Subject to renewal

The following standard conditions shall apply and be included in all consents:

  1. This consent for occupation of the pavement will be for Tables and Chairs and Barriers only and will be valid until expiry of permit. The granting of permission under Section 59 of the Act only relates to occupation of the road and applicants will need to ensure that they obtain all other necessary permits and permissions e.g. planning consent, alcohol licencing.
  2. The consent will be for a defined area, as shown on the successful permit. Occupation of the pavement or roadway must not extend out with this area.
  3. The street café must be surrounded by a physical barrier of not less than 0.6m in height to guide people with disabilities around the area and this should include a low-level kick board or similar which can be detected by the visually impaired using a stick. These barriers must not be fixed to the ground and must be of a design agreed with an Aberdeenshire Council officer with the appropriate delegated authority. There should be no free-standing signs or other impediments placed outwith this barrier. No permanent fixings are to be affixed to the pavement/road.
  4. Barriers, Tables and Chairs are only allowed on the pavement/road between 0900hrs and 2100hrs and must be removed from the area promptly at 2100hrs.
  5. Storage of Furniture/Barriers/A Boards etc. on the pavement/road is not permitted out with authorised times as laid out in condition 4. Any items found on the pavement/road out with these times will be removed/ confiscated under section 59 of the Roads Scotland Act 1984.
  6. Permit holders must ensure that the defined area is kept clear of all waste including cigarette litter associated with their business. These areas MUST be swept/cleansed when required on a daily basis and after removal of the Tables and Chairs at the end of each day. All waste/litter must be disposed of in an appropriate manner i.e. NOT swept into kerbside.
  7. The operators of the premises must actively manage and supervise the external seating area at all times to ensure that there is no obstruction of or encroachment onto the carriageway/footway and no antisocial behaviour.
  8. Barriers and furniture shall be sufficiently robust and stable for expected weather conditions and must be removed when wind speeds cause any movement or instability.
  9. Access to any public utility plant or fire hydrant in the area occupied must be made available when required.
  10. The consent will be suspended when public utility or road workings are being undertaken in your area.
  11. The consent holder shall indemnify the Aberdeenshire Council from and against all actions, claims, demands, costs, charges, losses and expenses of whatsoever kind of nature which may be brought or made against them or incurred by them in the occupation of the road or pavement granted under the consent. Proof of indemnification against all claims, injuries or accidents with cover up to £5 million for any one event must be provided prior to placement of any furniture or associated structures on the footway and this proof should also be provided with any application to renew.
  12. Failure to comply with any of these conditions may result in Aberdeenshire Council withdrawing this consent.
  13. The Council shall not be liable for any losses which arise through the withdrawal of consent.