Applications are open in West Suffolk for temporary pavement licences to help cafés, restaurants and pubs trade during Covid-19 and keep people safe.
The move by West Suffolk Council follows new legislation just agreed by government to ease previous restrictions on putting items such as tables and chairs outside premises for the sale of food or drink for consumption.
A fast track process has been introduced so premises can apply, relevant consultees can have their say and a decision made in a much shorter time. Government allows councils to charge up to £100 to apply but West Suffolk Council has agreed during this time to make the process free.
While some rules have been relaxed businesses still need to be able to satisfy certain criteria to make sure people using both the premises and the highway are safe.
West Suffolk Council is also looking to hold webinars to help businesses understand the process and what is needed to further aid them in applying if they wish to.
Temporary pavement licences, which are available free of charge, will last until September 30, 2021. However, they are subject to a statutory notice period of 10 working days, during which time people will have an opportunity to comment on the application.
Businesses can find out more and what they need to apply by visiting https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/Business/Regulation_and_Licensing/Licensing/Street_trading/index.cfm
They can apply online by visiting https://westsuffolk-self.achieveservice.com/service/Pavement_Licence_Application
Businesses can also find information and guidance as well as materials they can use as part of the West Suffolk Council business pack at https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/safer-places/spbusinesspack.cfm
John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “This is part of West Suffolk District Council’s ongoing support of helping businesses open and stay open while reducing the spread of Covid-19.
“Now that government has agreed the legislation, we have put the process online to help fast track applications. Not only do businesses have a role in this but the public must play their part too by following the guidance at the premises.
“Once approved, these licences will allow eligible businesses to put tables and chairs on the public highway outside their premises to attract more customers and increase trade, while also promoting social distancing and being subject to normal highway safe passage requirements.
“During this time, we have also made the process free to reduce the financial burden on local businesses. The council has already been helping with advice and support as well as helping traders access millions of pounds of government grants.”