At the first meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s new Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee members agreed to take the proposed new pavement café licence policy to the May meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee for approval as council policy.
In the meantime, the proposed policy has been made available on the council website for comments from businesses and residents. The council is eager to hear people’s feedback.
The demand for pavement cafés is increasing across Argyll and Bute and the council has developed this policy to make it as easy as possible for people to apply for licences.
Policy Lead for Roads and Amenity Services, Councillor Ellen Morton, said of the new policy:
‘’This policy will have long-lasting and significant benefits and it’s important that we get it right. That’s why we are asking members of the public and local business owners to tell us what they think of the proposal. We’ll take those suggestions on board before finalising policy.
‘’It is our aim to make it as easy as possible for people to apply for pavement licences – we are eager to develop a café culture throughout Argyll and Bute.
‘’Unfortunately there are some statutory processes that people have to go through; that’s out-with our control. What we are trying to do is make the council’s side of the process as user-friendly as possible. That’s why we’ll be waiving the normal fee of £165 for a licence in the first year.’’
The proposed new policy would see businesses make an initial enquiry to the council’s road department who will provide initial advice and help co-ordinate applications.
Following this, the formal application would be progressed for a licence under the Roads Scotland Act. This would normally carry a charge of £165, however, the council will be waiving that fee in the first year following the introduction of the policy.
After the licence is approved, planning permission would have to be sought; this is a statutory obligation and is out-with the council’s control. This is normally subject to a fee of £382.
The Scottish Government is currently considering alterations to permitted development policy where some pavement cafes not require planning permission. This is estimated to be in place by the end of the summer.
If a licence for the sale of alcohol was needed, this would be subject to the usual process – an application to the licensing board, with a fee of £160.
After this, the pavement would be able to be used as per the terms of the licence/permission.
The council expects to have this policy in place by the end of August.
A pavement licence is not required for retailers displaying goods on the street.
The proposed policy is available at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/consultations/pavement-cafe-licence-policy-consultation until Friday 9th May with a form for members of the public to leave their comments/suggestions.