Row over cafes paying for outdoor seating

A CAFE trader in Weston says she is outraged by North Somerset Council s plans to make businesses pay for having outdoor seating.

A CAFE trader in Weston says she is 'outraged' by North Somerset Council's plans to make businesses pay for having outdoor seating.

Clare Morris, who owns Coco Browns on Big Lamp Corner says the council has hit businesses like hers with a 'double-whammy' after the council approved street-trading licences for stalls in direct competition with them.

Across North Somerset, traders will have to fork out more than £600 if they want tables and chairs outside their premises in the New Year.

An annual payment of £150 will also be required if owners want to keep their street trading licences.

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The 32-year-old former Churchill Community School pupil said: "This is a double-whammy as the council has also introduced street-trading licences. This means there could be a concession in direct competition within sight of my cafe.

She added has objected to a proposed 'Superjuice' stall which would be selling 'smoothies' on Big Lamp Corner.

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"On the one hand the council says it wants a Continental style cafe culture, then it penalises the businesses doing it while clogging up the open spaces."

"I think it is outrageous. Sometimes I think what the council is doing to support small businesses.

"In the end a big chain will swallow me up. The council is just taking all the time."

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.

Street cafes 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.

He said: "We are trying to offer businesses the opportunity to extend their trade effectively outside their premises, but at the same time making sure that it doesn't spoil the street.

"We're also trying to make sure things like A-boards don't create a hazard."

Cllr Felicity Baker, who is carrying out the review of street trading licences, said no final decision had yet been taken.

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