Council says teething problems with Fast Track application have been resolved
Owners of the Albertine in Shepherd's Bush who have benefitted from their borough's policy
Hounslow Council has introduced a Fast Track Pavement Licence which costs £100 and is valid for 12 months.
The new system allows businesses to use more of the space outside of their premises, helping them to reduce public health risks whilst protecting hospitality jobs. The fast track application can be used for a pavement licence to put removable furniture on the highway adjacent to the premises. Premises for which an application can be made include pubs, cafes, bars, restaurants or other drinking establishments, and premises for the sale of food for consumption on or off the premises.
The Council were earlier criticised for not introducing reduced licencing charges more promptly. The government had stated they were introducing legislation to make it cheaper and easier for restaurants and cafes to operate on pavements and many local authorities pre-empted this by reducing fees or waiving them altogether.
Business owners in the borough claimed that sticking with the previous charges effectively meant they were being made to pay more because social distancing meant they had to provide more space for table and chairs.
Initially there were problems experienced by local firms trying to apply but the council says their IT team have now resolved these issues. Businesses that paid a higher application fee will also be refunded according to the council.
Businesses wishing to apply for a Fast Track licence with a 7 day consultation period can do so by completing the online e-form and making payment. The granting of a pavement licence only permits the placing of furniture on the highway. Other regulatory frameworks still apply such as the need for alcohol licences and the need to comply with registration requirements for food businesses.
Councillor Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency, said, "We recognise the pressures which businesses have been under during the pandemic and we'd like to support them as much as possible to help them get back on their feet by allowing extra capacity for customers. Our teams are here to help businesses reopen safely, increase their business area to include more visitors, and keep to the social distancing guidelines.”
Councillor Richard Foote, Chair of the Licensing Committee, said, "By encouraging licences for street cafes across the borough, we hope that it will support local businesses to gain a quicker recovery to support the local economy. The application process is quick and easy and we encourage cafes, restaurants, and pubs to apply for a licence so they can maximise the space in front of their premises.”
“The Council has shared guidance toolkits for businesses to reopen safely and to ensure that they are Covid-19 Secure, as well as that disabled access and pedestrian safety are taken into consideration. We want businesses to remember that they need to provide at least 1.5m space around their licensed area to ensure pedestrian safety.”
For more information and to apply for the Fast Track licence, click here.
To download the Council’s Hospitality Toolkit for businesses looking for guidance as they reopen, click here.
For FREE 1-1 business support and risk assessment advice email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment or phone 07944 373 605
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July 31, 2020