Outdoor seating areas

Temporary Occupations until 24 January 2022

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.

Please read our guidance on utilising outdoor spaces for pubs and restaurants. 

Businesses are encouraged to contact sfpbusiness@aberdeencity.gov.uk to discuss proposals for temporary outdoor seating in advance. Please be aware that utilising an outdoor space on the pavement or street does not imply an exclusive right to the area, and Aberdeen City Council reserves the right to gain access to the area, e.g. for cleaning, maintenance, repairs or for city events. This also applies to organisations such as Statutory Undertakers where emergency access is required.

You must take into consideration any building warrant or licensing requirements, along with the following design principals:

  • Be a good neighbour. Outdoor seating areas should be visible from your existing premises and kept under supervision. Residential amenity should be respected. 
  • If seating areas extend beyond the frontage of your own property, then you should have the consent of any neighbouring property(s) to extend in front of their frontage. 
  • The needs of other footway users to maintain physical distancing must be respected. This includes ensuring sufficient space for possible queuing. 
  • Where extended or widened footpaths have been created by the City Council to allow for physical distancing, seating areas should be located in these areas rather than immediately adjacent to the frontage of a premises, particularly if queuing is expected. This is to ensure safe pedestrian flow. 
  • A clear route (e.g. of around 3 metres) must be maintained to allow other footway users to pass the outdoor seating area without obstruction. Staff should be suitably trained in crossing the footway to serve customers, particularly those carrying hot food or beverages. 
  • Emergency exit routes from your own or a neighbouring property must never be obstructed. Access for emergency vehicles must also be retained, and further guidance on this can be provided on a case-by-case basis. 
  • The location of permanent street furniture should be considered in any design (e.g. bins, benches, bus stops). 
  • Any perimeter enclosures over 1 metre should be partially ‘see-through’ in order to maintain visibility of activity. 
  • Seating and tables should be of a reasonable quality, and continuity of design with any surrounding premises is encouraged. Appropriate landscaping and “greening” are also encouraged.
  • Furniture and fixtures must not be fixed into the street or pavement surface. Furniture and fittings may need to be removed and stored inside each evening – this will depend largely on the type of furniture proposed and the location of the occupation. 
  • Furniture (including any umbrellas) must be “weather proof” and able to withstand high winds and uneven surfaces. 
  • Suitable arrangements for the storage and collection of refuse must be made. 
  • Provision of heaters and / or additional external lighting will require a formal risk assessment to be undertaken and submitted to the Council for approval. Further advice on the provision of heating appliances can be found at exterior heaters in the hospitality sector
  • External public address systems or amplified music will not be acceptable. 
  • Marquees, tents or canopies should not be attached to any building. Further advice on marquees and other coverings is provided below. 
  • All notices required in terms of Trading Standards/ Environmental Health legislation must be displayed. 

Any proposals which do not align with the design principals may risk enforcement action being taken. 

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