Do I Need Planning Permission For Outdoor Pavement Signs?

The modern high street is a dog eat dog, competitive world. You only have to consider the fate of Blockbuster and Woolworths to appreciate this.

For many small and medium sized businesses, outdoor pavement signs can be an extremely worthwhile investment to outshine the competition.

However, there is some red tape and admin associated with this form of signage. We’ve done some investigating and broken down the key facts you need to know about planning permission for outdoor pavement signs. Read on to find out more…

Do you need planning permission for outdoor pavement signs?

Why should I Use Outdoor Pavement Signs?

First thing’s first, you may be wondering if outdoor pavement signs are even useful for your business.

While they may seem elementary, an impactful, well positioned outdoor pavement sign can be a lot more effective than it’s given credit for. Not only can they attract the attention of passers by, they can also increase your business presence and the effectiveness of other displays. Win, win!

Do I need planning permission?

While there is no nationwide policy that covers outdoor pavement signs, there are guidelines that exist. These guidelines vary from council to council.

In general, you’ll find that local authorities are very cooperative and want high street businesses to succeed. Though they are obligated to ensure that pavements remain safe for pedestrians!

If you’re going to use an outdoor pavement sign on your own territory, such as the enclosed area of a shop or a terrace in front of a café, you do not need consent or permission.

There are a few exceptions. For instance, illuminated outdoor pavement signs are subject to different stipulations. These are normally an issue if the display is flashing and with bright colours. Our illuminated menu box is completely fine to use as it is backlit and not flashing.

It is worth noting for conservation areas and listed buildings, you will need permission to display any sort of sign on the buildings.

Do I need planning permissions for flags and poles?

As we’re on the topic of outdoor advertising, there are some instances where flags are permitted but with certain rules to follow. If your flags are under 4.6 metres in height, and they’re being displayed on your own premises, you’re free to display them as you wish.

If the flag is is fixed upright on the roof of a building, there are also no restrictions to gain consent. However, the flag may:

“…only have on it the name, emblem, device or trademark of the company or person occupying the building, or refer to a specific event of a limited duration taking place in the building.”

Freestanding flags are usually limited to height restriction of 4.6 metres. All our outdoor flags are below this height limit.

Read more on page 21 of the governments guide for advertisers.

Public Liability Indemnity Insurance

Public Liability Indemnity Insurance is essential if you are considering using an outdoor pavement sign.

While highly unlikely, this insurance will cover you in the event that a person suffers an injury because of your outdoor pavement sign. This can include someone walking into or tripping over your sign or even if the sign falls on them.

Often, the council will request proof of this insurance before they give you permission to use an outdoor sign. For more detailed information about outdoor advertising, the UK government has produced a handy guide for advertisers.

For advertisements which need specific permission, application forms can be obtained here.


If you are planning to use a pavement sign or flag on your own property, and it’s less than 4.6 metres in height, you do not need any permission to use these displays.

Do you use outdoor pavement signs or flags for your business? Did you need planning permission for your sign? How effective a tool is your sign for driving more traffic to your shop? Comment or start a discussion below. We’re interested to hear your views and stories!