Outdoor Dining

Townsville City Council wants to make it easier for your business to have outdoor dining. Outdoor dining increases your business’ seating capacity and gives life to the street, making it a more enjoyable place for people to visit. Council’s Outdoor Dining Permit system provides a simple and free process for fast approvals, allowing you to get your permit and get back to running your businesses.

Outdoor Dining Policy

Council’s Outdoor Dining Policy is enacted under Local Law No.4 (Local Government Controlled Areas, Facilities and Roads) 2011. The policy aims to encourage the use of Council-controlled outdoor areas by businesses serving food (and/or beverages) to the public, to enhance the amenity and vibrancy of Townsville. To find out how to apply for an outdoor dining permit, see the Outdoor Dining Guidelines below.

Outdoor Dining Guidelines

Who can apply for an outdoor dining permit?

If you have a restaurant, café, bar, pub, or any type of business that serves food and/or drinks, then you can apply for an outdoor dining permit.

When do I need a permit?

If you want to use Council land or footpath for outdoor dining purposes, you will need an Outdoor Dining Permit.

Outdoor Dining on private property does not need a permit, but you should talk to the property owner about using these spaces.

Do I need other permits?

If your business serves food and/or drinks, you will need to have the appropriate food licence applicable to your business before you can apply for an outdoor dining permit. Visit our Licences page for more information.

If your business serves alcohol you will need to have the appropriate liquor licence applicable to your business. You can apply for a liquor licence from the Office of Liquor and Gaming.

State-controlled roads

Some roads in Townsville are State-controlled roads, meaning Council does not manage them and cannot give Outdoor Dining Permits for these roads. You can find a map with a list of these roads below. If you have a business on one of these roads, you will need to contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads to apply for an Outdoor Dining Permit.

If your business is on a Council road but within 30m of a state-controlled road, you can still apply for outdoor dining with Council; however, you will need Council to formally assess your application.

(Click image to expand)

Map of State-controlled roads in Townsville

How do I apply for a permit?

You can apply for a permit below. Applying for a permit is free and most of the time it can be a ‘Fast Approval’, approved within 1 business day, but there a few things you will need to know first.

Road Speed Limit

Most Council controlled roads in Townsville have a speed limit of 50km/h or lower and are more suitable for outdoor dining. Roads with speed limits above this but up to 60km/h may still have outdoor dining; however, you will not qualify for ‘Fast Approval’, and need Council to formally assess your application. Roads with higher speeds than 60km/h are not suitable for outdoor dining.


Before you can apply for your Outdoor Dining Permit , you will need to ensure your business has adequate insurance. For an Outdoor Dining permit, your business (as the Insured) will require public liability insurance for a minimum of $20 million.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You will need to upload the certificate of currency, which must include the following information:

  • The Business Name
  • The total cover value (i.e., $20,000,000)
  • Include the following statement:
    • Interested Parties:
      Townsville City Council in connection with the use or display of tables and chairs on the pedestrian pavement for outdoor dining/display of goods/display of signage on footpaths or other trading places which may or may not be under the ownership, care, custody and control of Townsville City Council, at the front of the Insured’s Business Premises situated at (insert your trading address) – where the Personal Injury and/or Property Damage happens as a result of an Occurrence within the Territorial Limits.

Renewing a previous agreement?

If you are looking to renew an expired agreement and you are the same business owner, you can use a previously approved plan for your outdoor dining agreement.

In the application form, you will need to quote the number of the previous permit and upload the plans. If you do not know the permit number or do not have the plans, you can contact Council on 13 48 10 to get in touch with a member of the Planning & Development Team. Alternatively, you can use the easy design standards shown below.

Other Important Info

Furniture, Umbrellas and Shade Structures

Outdoor furniture should be safe and should not obstruct pedestrians. Umbrellas and other shade structures must have a minimum 2.5m clearance above the footpath and not cause a hazard to pedestrians within a pedestrian zone. Removable furniture is to be removed or secured within the outdoor dining area when the business is not open.

Some shops or tenancies may have existing permanent structures that can be used as outdoor dining areas. Structures may not be gated or locked. The construction of new permanent structures on Council land will require a formal assessment.

Outdoor Dining Areas

As part of the agreement, you will also need to ensure that your outdoor dining area meets certain design standards. Townsville has some great dining precincts. Each of these precincts has a style,  which includes things like where the outdoor dining goes on the footpath and how much space needs to be left for pedestrians. These precinct styles are:

  • Flinders Street Central Style - between Stanley Street and Denham Street
  • Flinders Street East Style - between Denham Street and King Street (North Side Only)
  • Gregory Street Style - between Mitchell Street and The Strand
  • Palmer Street Style - between Dean Street and Archer Street
(Click image to expand)

Outdoor Dining Precincts

If your business is within one of these 4 precincts, your outdoor dining area will need to be in that style. If your business is anywhere else,  your outdoor dining area will need to meet the Townsville Style.

View the guides below to see the standards for each style.

Good to Go!

If you meet the above requirements relevant to your precinct or are renewing a previously approved plan, then you can continue with the online permit application.

*Please allow 10 minutes to complete this application. You will not be able to save and return to it later.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before clicking ‘Apply Now’, please ensure you meet ALL the insurance and siting requirements listed above.

This doesn’t quite work for me…

If you are unsure, or know you cannot satisfy the above requirements, you may still be able to get an outdoor dining permit.

Applications that do not meet the above requirements do not qualify for ‘Fast Approval’, and will need to be assessed by Council, to ensure that they do not cause a nuisance or issues to public safety.

In this case, you will be required to submit a site plan that shows measurements for your outdoor dining area and clear pedestrian area, as well as clearances from the back of kerb, traffic lane, signs, bins, street furniture, electrical boxes, trees or garden beds, or any structure that would be of an obstruction to pedestrians. For more detail about these safety requirements, you should refer to the Townsville City Plan - SC6.4.20.2 Outdoor Dining Design.

If you do not qualify for ‘Fast Approval’ but you are ready to apply for an outdoor dining permit, you commence your application with the button above. In the application, you will need to answer “No” when asked “Can you comply with precinct style?

If you require further advice, please contact Townsville City Council on 13 48 10 or enquiries@townsville.qld.gov.au.