Councillors discuss plans to boost hospitality sector in Stafford

Plans to boost the hospitality sector in Stafford following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions are being discussed by councillors later.

So-called ‘pavement licences’ were announced by the Government allowing more pubs, cafes and restaurants to serve food and drink to customers at tables outside their premises.

The new legislation, which has just gone through parliament, is aimed at making it easier for the hospitality sector to receive new outside licences – allowing them to utilise more space for their business.

The changes will allow licences to be fast-tracked - with only a seven-day period for people to object to them compared to the normal 28 days. And if the local authority has not determined the application within a tight timescale, permission will be granted automatically.

A report to a meeting of the council states: “The Bill introduces a new licence – a ‘pavement licence’. Businesses selling food and drink may apply to their local authority for authorisation to put furniture such as tables and chairs on the highway adjacent to their premises to sell food and drink from and/or for their customers to use.”

There will be a £100 fee to obtain permission – although the report says the charge will not cover the total cost of administering the licence. These licences will be valid until 30 September 2021.

Councillor Jonathan Price, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The hospitality industry has been hit very hard in the last few months and as we emerge from lockdown, the use of pavements for cafes, bars and restaurants has assumed a new importance given the evidence of a lower risk of spreading Coronavirus outdoors.

“We hope this new legislation will provide the opportunity to some of those businesses to utilise space outside to attract more customers – especially given the constraints still in place to prevent the spread of the virus.”

The council will be meeting this evening (Tuesday 28 July) and the full agenda is available at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/1920-committee-meetings

If the proposals are agreed by council, application packs will be available from Wednesday (29 July) on the website www.staffordbc.gov.uk/pavement-licence or contact ehlicensing@staffordbc.gov.uk or 01785 619745.

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