Licences to hit cafe culture?

CAFE owners in Clevedon are worried their businesses will be hit by new licences for outdoor seating areas. After the New Year, owners of cafes with tables and chairs outside their premises will have to fork out more than £600 to apply for a street cafe l

CAFE owners in Clevedon are worried their businesses will be hit by new licences for outdoor seating areas.After the New Year, owners of cafes with tables and chairs outside their premises will have to fork out more than £600 to apply for a street cafe licence and pay a subsequent annual fee to keep it.Tea rooms in Clevedon will have to foot the extra bill or lose customers.One cafe owner in Hill Road has said she will consider getting rid of her outdoor tables, rather than pay the extra cost.Linda Mulvaney, joint owner of Butterflies in Hill Road, said: "We'd get rid of the outdoor seating. We wouldn't pay that much to keep two tables outside."I would be upset to get rid of them because it's for people who smoke or people with dogs. Lots of people walk along the seafront and along to us with their dogs and stop and have a cup of coffee. It's a public service really."It will lose us trade but I wouldn't be prepared to pay that much. I think it's very unfair. I can't believe the council has agreed to it."Cafe Solo in Old Church Road, Clevedon, also has an outside area and will be hit by the new licences.The decision comes just days before St Nicholas Street Fair in Hill Road, which draws in hundreds of visitors to its cafes and shops. The street cafe licences have been introduced by Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council's executive member for strategic planning, highways and economic development.Cafes will have to pay £350 for highways consent, £265 to apply for planning permission and £150 each year to keep the licence.Owners will also have to get permission to use free-standing advertising boards in the street.The new system will finance itself, with the cash from the licence fees covering the cost of issuing them.Cllr Ap Rees said: "We are trying to offer businesses the opportunity to extend their trade effectively outside their premises, but at the same time making sure it doesn't spoil the street."We're also trying to make sure things like A-boards don't create a hazard.


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