Hospitality business outdoor seating - support grant

Introduction to outdoor seating support grant and application process

Oxford City Council created a new funding pot to enable hospitality businesses to recoup costs incurred in establishing infrastructure changes to highways (roads) or footways (pavements) to create outdoor seating zones, up to £3,250 per business.

We are currently focussing on the expressions of interest received by our initial 28 March 2021 deadline.  We will consider applications that come in after that date but our response may take longer, and will be dependent on funding remaining after the initial round. If you would like to make an expression of interest, please continue to follow this guidance note.

In Oxford, especially but not exclusively in the city centre with its historic and narrow streets, hospitality businesses will often rely on changes to the highway in order to create safe seating spaces for their customers.

The City Council is the Licensing authority, but the County Council is the Highways authority. That’s why we are making this funding available and are also establishing a streamlined process to help businesses navigate the two organisations.

The shared objective of the two councils is to support hospitality businesses across Oxford to provide outdoor seating on the highway, where possible, and to provide advice and guidance on how to mitigate any negative impacts.

The default position is that successful proposals which require changes to the highway or footway through Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders would be valid throughout the summer. Where there are exceptionally complicated circumstances, the initial permission may be limited to the period between 12 April and 17 May 2021, subject to review after that point.

Detailed guidance for businesses

Please read the detailed guidance before expressing an interest in delivering a scheme. Complete and accurate expressions of interest will be more likely to receive a quick response. If the proposal is not recommended for funding or approval then clear reasons will be given.


All Oxford hospitality businesses are eligible in principle. Neighbouring businesses are encouraged to collaborate in order to submit expressions of interest together. Some expenditure related to outdoor seating is NOT eligible, such as the purchase of tables and chairs and other seating accessories which may be bought by the business.

There is more information about eligibility criteria in the detailed guidance.

How much grant funding is available

There is a total of £65,000 grant funding being made available by the City Council.

There is a maximum of £3,250 grant contribution available per eligible business (with all grant payments being linked to actual costs incurred by businesses).

For example, if three businesses club together to create a proposal for a seating zone, they would be eligible for a maximum of £9,750 grant support and the final grant contribution may be lower if the actual infrastructure or traffic regulation costs end up being lower.

Application deadline

If you are aiming to reopen on 12 April and would like to access this funding, there is a deadline of Sunday 28 March to register your interest. Expressions of interest are welcome after this point, but will not be considered as part of this initial round and future rounds will be dependent on funding remaining after the initial round.


Because the creation of outdoor seating zones relies on businesses communicating with the City Council (regarding grant funding and Licensing) and the County Council (regarding changes to the highways), both councils have created a new streamlined process for businesse. See more information about the new process.

Express your interest in an Outdoor seating grant

Please read the detailed guidance before expressing interest in delivering a scheme. Complete and accurate expressions of interest will be more likely to receive a quick response.

Make an Expression of Interest

Contact us

If you would like more information, please email [email protected].