Licence offers fast track to alfresco dining

Published Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Al fresco dining spaces and street cafes could soon become a more familiar sight across the borough as local food and drink businesses are invited to apply for a fast track pavement licence.

The Borough Council has launched a fast-track process to apply for the new licence, which will allow pubs, cafes and restaurants to place tables and chairs outside their premises, without the usual need for planning permission.

The pavement licences, made possible following the introduction of the new Business and Planning Bill 2020, aim to help licensed businesses bounce back from the coronavirus lockdown and operate safely while social distancing measures are in place. In addition, the Bill has amended the Licensing Act 2003 to allow operators with existing alcohol on-sales licences to also serve alcohol for consumption off the premises and to make deliveries. 

The council will determine applications in just 14 days including a seven day consultation period. Licences will be granted for up to a maximum of one year, and will expire no later than 30 September 2021. Where a pavement licence is granted, clear pavement routes for all pedestrians will need to be maintained, taking into account the needs of all users, including disabled people.

Councillor Martin Cartwright, Executive Lead for Licensing said:

The pavement licence is another initiative to help and support local businesses and provide them with more opportunities to generate income and retain as many hospitality jobs as possible, whilst at the same time keeping customers safe. 

As we all get used to the ‘new normal’ more people are choosing to sit outside where possible. This licence will help not only our town centre businesses but businesses across the Borough especially in our parished communities to offer that facility to their customers, whilst maintaining social distancing. It takes just 14 days from the application start for a decision to be notified, I urge business that wish to apply to do so right away.

Interested businesses can apply for the pavement licence on our website.