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Street cafe (sitting out) licence - all other Dorset Council areas

Sitting out areas are very popular with both residents and visitors to Dorset and bring a different type of street/café culture to the area. We are keen to support these areas where it is safe to do so.

Before you apply

We consider the safety and needs of other highway users before granting a licence, therefore, some areas currently used for sitting out will not be granted a licence.

Planning permission

If you want to define your sitting out areas with planters, bollards, canopies, lighting and heating, some of these structures may require planning permission and you should contact the Planning Department first.

Number of licences required

You need one licence for every 10 seating places, for example, one licence for 10 seats, two licences for 20 seats and so on.

Fees and charges

  • new licences cost £303 per licence
  • licence renewals cost £182 per licence


Call 01305 228622 to pay by credit or debit card.  All major credit/debit cards accepted.

Conditions of consent

The sitting out area doesn't need to be directly outside of the premises but we would need to consult neighbouring properties and consider any objections before granting a licence.

The following conditions apply to a sitting out licence:

  • the location and size of the sitting out area will be agreed with the council. Normally a minimum footway width of 1.8m will be required at all times between the seating area and the edge of the footway
  • a copy of the licence must be displayed in a prominent window fronting the sitting out area at all times
  • no “A” boards (advertising boards) or signs will be permitted in addition to the licensed area
  • advertising on umbrellas or blinds will be subject to planning considerations and should be associated with the premises rather than individual products
  • the design of any permanently fixed items of furniture; (decking, lighting, bollards etc.) must be agreed prior to installation. Accessibility for disabled must be allowed for. The Licensee will be responsible for the costs of the provision and installation of these items together with their maintenance and removal
  • the operator of the licensed area must have adequate insurance to cover the area of the licence and indemnify the council from any claims arising from his activities
  • the council as highway authority, and statutory undertakers will have a right of access to the area at all times
  • the council, subject to a one-month notice period may withdraw the licence. If the licence is withdrawn no refunds will be paid
  • this licence does not cover the consumption of alcohol on the highway and the licensee should make an application to the appropriate licensing body
  • the licensee is responsible for keeping the licensed area clear of all litter and debris.
  • the licensee is responsible for obtaining any permissions relating to planning and community charge issues and any other licences or permissions

Apply for a licence

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