Coronavirus: New pavement licence introduced to help businesses over the summer
Following the implementation of the Business and Planning Act 2020 on 22 July 2020, Shropshire Council is now accepting applications for temporary pavement licences. Any business can now apply to the council for a pavement licence, to put removable furniture such as stalls, counters, tables, chairs, umbrellas, barriers and heaters on the highway adjacent to their premises for the following purposes:
- Use of the furniture for the licence-holder to sell or serve food or drink supplied from, or in connection with relevant use of, the premises; and
- Use of the furniture by other people for the purpose of consuming food or drink supplied from, or in connection with relevant use of, the premises.
Under this new regime the council is issuing a pavement licence initially for a period of three months. Any business may apply for a pavement licence for a new area, or to temporarily extend the area that already has a valid pavement permit in force.
Before applying to use any open space, businesses must ensure the following:
- The proposed space takes into account the need to provide adequate social distancing
- That any street furniture does not cause an obstruction to pedestrian and vehicular access, especially emergency services
- The needs of all users of the space are met, in particular those with disabilities, including those with mobility difficulties and visual impairment, and for those caring for babies/children
- The use of an area does not cause any nuisance, eg unacceptable noise, build-up of litter, etc, to local residents or other businesses
- You do not use an area that already has an established use (eg a Saturday market or another trader’s permitted area)
- You have adequate public liability insurance
- That you do not endanger the health and safety of the public; particular attention needs to be given to road crossing points and footway width
- That any street furniture is suitable.
Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s trading standards and licensing operations manager, said:
“With recent developments to the road network in many of Shropshire’s town centres, which includes the widening of pavements, road closures and other temporary measures to facilitate social distancing, there are now additional opportunities for local businesses to use some of this newly created space and other areas that would ordinarily be unsafe to use. We want to support businesses to do this safely in order to protect their staff and the public, in particular those with disabilities and those caring for children and the more vulnerable in our communities.
“We must also ensure that the potential for any increased adverse impact on our town centre residents and the wider business community is minimised. It is for these reasons that the application process is necessary; however, we are committed to helping businesses navigate this as quickly as possible.”
Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, said:
“The new legislation introduces a new streamlined and cheaper route for businesses such as cafes, restaurants and bars to secure a licence to place tables and chairs on the highway. We want to encourage our businesses to explore the use of additional open space in our town centres to help them trade more efficiently, and at the same time maintain adequate social distancing measures and operate safely for both their staff and customers.
“Clearly, the more space businesses have available to seat and serve customers outdoors, the greater the opportunities will be to increase much needed income over the summer months, which we hope will protect as many hospitality jobs as possible. I would encourage businesses to check out our website for all the details about the new licence, and if unsure about any of the requirements to seek further advice from our licensing team who will be very happy to help.”
The cost for a three-month pavement licence is £40 and, providing the space to be used remains the same and the council is satisfied that the licence remains appropriate, the licence can be extended for further periods of three months at a cost of £20 for each extension up to September 2021.
Full guidance and how to apply for a pavement licence can be found here.
If any business wants to apply for our normal 12-month pavement permit, or renew an existing permit, instead of, or in addition to a pavement licence, further details are available here.
For any further advice please contact the licensing team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0345 678 9026.
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