Industry sector:

Ice cream parlour: Licences


As you will be serving food from your outlet you will need to register with your local authority environmental health department. Contact your local authority for details. They will inspect your premises and help you to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Act and food hygiene regulations made under it. There is no charge for registering. You can find out more about this and apply for registration on the Gov.uk website.

If you intend to run an ice cream manufacturing operation then your manufacturing premises will need to be authorised as a dairy processor (rather than just registered as a food business) by your local authority.

Chairs and tables on pavements

If you intend to put any tables and chairs on the pavement outside your ice cream parlour then you'll probably need permission from your local authority. They may refer to this permission as a 'pavement licence', an 'al fresco dining licence' or a 'tables and chairs licence'. Planning permission may also be necessary for the change of use - your local authority will be able to advise you on this. Similar conditions often apply to advertising A-boards placed on the pavement.

Using copyright music

If you play copyright music at your premises - for example to enhance the ambience in your cafe - then this is referred to as a 'public performance' and you are likely to need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website.

Alcohol licensing

If you intend to offer a full cafe or restaurant menu then you may want to serve alcoholic drinks with food. You'll need an alcohol licence for this - a personal licence for whoever is responsible for overseeing alcohol sales and a premises licence for your outlet.

Premises - planning use classes

When choosing premises, note that you may need to find some with the appropriate planning usage classification. Otherwise it may be possible to change the classification of a premises, but this will require planning consent. It is easier to change to some classifications than to others.

Planning usage classes covering food and catering activities are as follows:

  • A1 - shops (this would include outlets which sell ice creams to take away)
  • A3 - restaurants and cafes (food and drink for consumption on the premises - this would include most ice cream parlours)
  • A4 - drinking establishments (pubs and wine bars, but not night clubs)
  • A5 - hot food takeaways (hot food for consumption off the premises)

There is more information about planning use classes and getting permission for change of use on the Planning Portal website.