CHESHIRE East Council is launching a new streamlined application process to help businesses introduce al fresco facilities.

The council said the move backed its approach in supporting high streets, town centres and the hospitality sector as part of its economic recovery plan arising from the pandemic.

The application process was straightforward, said a council spokesman, and was ‘subject to a modest fee of £100’.

Cllr Laura Crane said: “These streamlined provisions will temporarily allow many bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants to apply for licences to accommodate outdoor dining on public highways.

“This fast-tracked route is ideal compared to the lengthier, more expensive standard regulatory processes.

“The new measures will support a safe al fresco dining experience on our pavements while maintaining adequate space for pedestrians.

“It is essential to follow current Government guidance and signage in your local town, being conscious of public safety to help keep us all safe.”

Cllr Nick Mannion said: “These temporary measures are supporting businesses to reopen their doors.

“Economically, this will help licensed premises to survive and rebuild income after the pandemic lockdown.

“Businesses and their customers do however need to be mindful to respect other pedestrians using the pavements during this time.

“I would encourage all businesses looking to use outdoor seating areas to make sure they apply. The process is relatively straightforward and inexpensive.”

The council spokesman added: “The new policy will help prospective applicants, who should familiarise themselves with the specified details before applying.

“This sets out probable areas where licences will be permitted, the process to be followed and the relevant conditions.”

All businesses with outdoor seating on the public highway require a licence, and the council is encouraging any business already providing or seeking to provide al fresco facilities on public highways to apply for a pavement licence.

Businesses also need to check they have adequate public liability insurance to cover the area in question, as failure to have a licence could affect their insurance.

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Completed applications will be determined within 10 working days.