Guidance on utilising outdoor spaces for pubs and restaurants 

Now that we are emerging from Covid-19 restrictions, the temporary relaxation of controls for outdoor seating at pubs and restaurants will cease at 11.59pm on 24 January 2022. 

Permissions will be needed to retain outdoor seating from 25 January 2022. These may include:

  • Planning Permission
  • Street Occupation/Pavement Cafe Permit
  • Building Warrant
  • Licensing

If you want to retain / use a structure or outdoor seating beyond 24 January 2022, it is recommended that you contact us using our online enquiry form for confirmation of which permissions you need.

8 weeks to apply for and gain planning permission

4- 6 weeks to submit and gain a building warrant approval and Certificate of Completion verification.

7 days to submit and gain a pavement licence (also dependent upon planning permission)

If you need a license variation or new Premises Licence you should apply at least 6 weeks before the Licensing Board meeting.

 Applications may run at the same time, however it is recommended that you first seek advice on the permissions that are needed.

Planning permission would be required for fixed structures and for the use of outdoor areas (including pavements) for seating. Where these would obstruct the use of disabled parking bays these would need to be provided elsewhere.

Email the Development Team at PI@aberdeencity.gov.uk to check whether permission is required. Please send location plan and as much detail as possible (eg. floorspace and size of structures) with your enquiry email. 

A Pre-application enquiry is recommended, there is a fee of £150.

Find out more about the planning application process

The Scottish Government set fees for planning applications are:

  • £401 for change of use, or
  • a fee calculated on the floorspace of a structure

where both apply only the higher amount is charged.

If you wish to place objects or obstructions in the road (including pavement) you must have consent, for example, if you wish to place tables and chairs on the street outside your premises. Design guidance is provided and must be followed.

Find our more about making an application for a Pavement Café Permit

Fees are charged per year for the permit, based on the number of chairs and tables.

Building Warrant approval will be required for a permanent or limited life structure, although there can be exceptions to this related to the size and location of the structure and the length of time that it will be erected.

Assessment of the suitability of a structure will determined by factors such as structural capability, access, means of escape, fire resistance and location. 

Building Warrant fees are dependant on the actual cost of works for the provision and erection of a structure.

It is recognised that a “one size fits all” approach would not cover all possible scenarios. Building Standards Officers are therefore happy to meet onsite to discuss matters and give specific advice on individual proposals prior to the submission of an application.

Following initial contact via pi@aberdeencity.gov.uk a Building Standards Officer will be appointed to advise applicants and discussion by telephone, e mail and onsite visit arranged.

Applications for Building Warrant are made electronically at on the eBuilding Standards.scot website

Find out more about applying for a building warrant.
 

If alcohol is to be sold in an outdoor area, then it must be licensed for on-sale consumption. A licence variation may be required to include the outdoor area within the premises licence. If the outdoor area already forms part of a Premises Licence, then the area can be utilised under the current terms of that Premises Licence. 

Details of licensed hours, access for children and young persons, and any activities to be carried out in the licensed area are required. Should a premise wish to make an outdoor area permanent after January 2022, then this should be the subject of a formal application to vary the Premises Licence. 

Fees for licence variation are £150.

Find out more about applying for an Alcohol Premises Licence

Applications should be submitted by e-mail to licensing@aberdeencity.gov.uk, and payment made on our website

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