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Using the street or pavement space for displays and A-boards

We recognise that shopping areas within the city have much to offer by way of creating a pleasant ambience that attracts shoppers and tourists alike.

The council wishes to encourage traders to promote their business activities in a way that enhances the street scene and is sensitive to the needs of its users.

After consultation with groups representing vulnerable highway users, the council decided to allow limited displays of goods and A-boards on the highway (as long as they do not pose an unnecessary risk to highway users).

Licences run for a period of one year and are not transferable. Any request to change a licence will be treated as a new application. You will need to apply for a new permit upon the expiry of this permit.

Regulation summary

Section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 makes it an offence to wilfully obstruct the highway. The highway consists of the carriageway, footway, footpath and verge. Displays of goods and A-Boards can be considered an obstruction and placing them on the highway without permission can result in a fine of up to £2,500 and £250 per day, for each day they stay there.

You can access a summary and the relevant legislation in the 'External links' below.

Application evaluation process

  • All displays and A-Boards shall be sited immediately in front of the building frontage, within a 1.0m zone from the building line and must not be affixed to lamp columns, bollards, seats or other street furniture
  • A minimum footway width of 1.8m must be maintained from the zone boundary. Therefore, a minimum overall footway width of 2.8m is required for a 1m wide zone boundary
  • Displays should be located immediately outside the frontages of the business premises so that customers and staff are not crossing the flow of pedestrian traffic
  • Displays must be capable of being easily removed; it must require no excavation to install or remove
  • The items on display should represent the goods for trade carried out normally at the premises
  • Goods displayed must not obstruct fire exits, hydrants and utility apparatus such as stop taps and meters
  • Displays detached from the frontages will not be permitted
  • Selling or trading will be permitted inside the premises only
  • Displays must not cause a visual distraction or obstruction to vehicle sight lines or block visibility for pedestrians
  • No hazardous or chemical goods to be displayed
  • A-boards must be less than 600mm wide and no higher that 1.0m above ground level
  • Only one board is permitted per premises, even when premises are shared
  • Displays must be sympathetic in its positioning to the other aspects of the street
  • Displays must be removed at the end of the trading day
  • Displays will remain the responsibility of owners when placed in the adopted highway and a permit for each board or display must be applied for with public liability insurance worth at least £5million
  • Boards must relate only to the activity of the business


Application fee

There are no fees for this permit.

Will "tacit consent" apply?

Tacit consent does not apply to applications for on highway displays or A-Boards as the council must ensure that, should they be minded to grant an application, the location of the display or A-Board will not pose an unnecessary danger to highway users.

Our target completion period for processing a correctly completed application is usually 20 days from the time when all documentation has been submitted.

If you have not heard from us within this period, please contact us.

Apply online

A-Board permit

Apply to use street or pavement space for displays

Apply to change details of use of street or pavement space for display

Renew permission to use street or pavement space for display

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