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

Items on the public highway such as shop displays, advertising boards, 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.

Licence Application forms

If you wish to apply for a licence to place tables and chairs, an advertising board or a shop display on the public highway please complete the appropriate application 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 at the same time 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 licencing of items on the highway inside the licensing zones. These zones are the busiest areas of the city and include most of the major shopping areas. Examples are but limited too:

  • The Lanes
  • The North Laine
  • Brunswick and Adelaide
  • George Street, Hove
  • London Road
  • Rottingdean Village Centre
  • The 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/or the maximum area that can be taken up.

Licensees have to display a circular sticker (like a Tax Disc) in their door or window to show that they have a licence. The discs indicate where things are allowed to be placed.

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 the licensing zones do not normally require a formal licence, however the placement and quantity of items should follow the principles of the licensing conditions. i.e. we would not allow tables and chairs to restrict the footway to less than 1.3m.

Because of the topography and history of the City, many public pavements are narrow  However, we will not licence items on the public highway if there is less than 1.3m 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. You can telephone them on 01273 294429 or visit our street trading page for more information.


For further information please phone 01273) 292071 or email Street.licensing@brighton-hove.gov.uk