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Using Council Land for Your Hospitality Business

Government COVID restrictions have now been relaxed, but many visitors are choosing to enjoy food and drink in outside spaces, where possible.

Many hospitality businesses do not have their own space to be able to offer such facilities. If this is the case, they can apply for a licence to use nearby council-owned land to help them do so.

The Council owns land which it is making available to nearby hospitality businesses to set up outdoor seating areas for their customers in an extended response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This page will give you all the information you need on what areas are available and how to apply.

What land is available?

Check Available Land

If you wish to apply for a licence in a location not listed, you can select "Other" on the form and tell us where you would like to operate. We can then consider your application, which while we will help wherever we can, may be refused for operational or safety reasons.

Please check to make sure we own the land before submitting an application. If you're uncertain, please check with the Land Registry. 

Search the Land Registry

Is this the same application as placing tables and chairs on the pavement outside my business?

No, this application process is to operate your business on land owned by the District/Borough Council.

If you wish to place an outdoor seating area on an adopted road, footpath or pavement, you would normally need to apply to Devon County Council for permission. However, this Council is now also tasked with granting COVID specific Pavement Licences, for this recovery period. Please use this page  for pavement licences for use of the adopted highway.

What are the terms of the Licence?

For most areas, the Licences issued under this scheme will run from 1 April to 30 September inclusive, and run for one season only, as a continued response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses must undertake to keep the areas clean and tidy, disposing of all litter and packaging correctly. Public litter bins in the areas are not for the use of any businesses.

You may not construct anything on the land, which must be cleared each day.

Use of the licenced area must end by 10.00 p.m, unless agreed otherwise.

To balance demand, pedestrian access and general ambiance, less space than requested may be allocated.

If you wish to serve alcohol or food, you may need a separate licence for these activities if you don't already have one. Please read Serving Food and Drink Outside for more information.

It is the responsibility of the business to ensure they are complying with the requirements of their premises or personal licence. Use of the Council land will remain subject to any other relevant permissions or consents required.

Granting Licences is discretionary and the Councils' decision will be final.

You can read the full terms and conditions here.

Is there a Charge for the Licence?

Yes, there will be a charge for the licence. This will be calculated as part of your application and must be paid before your licence will be issued.

The fees for licences granted for the 2022 season will start to reflect a more commercial level, that will reflect the additional benefit and amenity these spaces will offer businesses.

Once we have received your application we will contact you to let you know the outcome of your application, the licence fee and to arrange payment.

If Council activities are displaced, such as car parking, the fee basis may be amended to address any income shortfall, in addition to the 'commercial' use of the land.

How soon will I get my Licence?

Applications to this scheme will be open from Thursday 31 March 2022 and licences will be issued as soon as possible.

After this date we will aim to issue your licence within five working days.

Will some businesses be given priority over others?

Yes. The scheme is intended to help local hospitality businesses with existing business premises. It is not intended for new or mobile businesses.

Where there is more demand for outside seating than space available, adjacent or nearby businesses will be given priority.

How can I apply?

Before you apply, please make sure you have read the guidance below:

Serving Food and Drink Outside 
Outdoor Seating Strategy
Terms and Conditions

Apply Now

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