Hyndburn Council have at last had the go ahead to start issuing pavement licences to businesses who wish to provide alfresco dining and drinking.  The Covid-19 pandemic has affected businesses across the economy causing many to cease trading for several months while others have had to significantly modify their operations.

As the economy started to re-open, on 25 June 2020 the Government announced a further and urgent relaxation to planning and licensing laws to help the hospitality industry recover from the coronavirus lockdown by removing short term obstacles that could get in their way.

However there was a delay in implementing the provision as the Business and Planning Act, only received Royal Accent on 22nd July 2020.  The Act makes it easier for premises serving food and drink such as bars, restaurants and pubs, as lockdown restrictions are lifted but social distancing guidelines remain in place to seat and serve customers outdoors through temporary changes to planning procedures and alcohol licensing.

The measures included in the Act modify provisions in the Licensing Act 2003 to provide automatic extensions to the terms of on-sales alcohol licences to allow for off-sales.  It will be a temporary measure to boost the economy, with provisions lasting until the end of September 2021.

The Act also introduces a temporary fast-track process for these businesses to obtain permission, in the form of a “pavement licence”, from Hyndburn Council for the placement of furniture such as tables and chairs on the pavement outside their premises which will enable them to maximise their capacity whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The new temporary measure places a cap on the application fee of £100 for businesses, and introduces a new 7 day consultation period and a 7 day determination period, ensuring that businesses can obtain licences in a timely and cost effective manner aiding their financial recovery.  Hyndburn Borough Council has set the application fee at £50 in order to help businesses who wish to apply.

Tables and chairs placed on the highway without permission can be illegal as they could amount to an obstruction. However, permission to use the highway for pavement cafes may be granted by the Council under the Business and Planning Act 2020

Accordingly, whilst the Council wishes to encourage pavement cafes, it is important that they are properly located and managed. This is to ensure that they meet the standards we expect in Hyndburn and that they do not obstruct the highway nor create a hazard for pedestrians, especially for blind, partially sighted and other people with disabilities.

Cllr Miles Parkinson OBE, Council Leader, welcomed the news saying;; “This is great news and we are encouraging business owners to submit their applications as soon as possible so that licences can be issued and residents and visitors can start to enjoy alfresco drinking and eating.”

Application for a pavement licence can be submitted by following this link