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Business owners warned they need a licence for outside dining

Image: Devon County Council

They could face fines of up to £1,000

But Devon County Council has issued a reminder to cafés, restaurants and pub owners that a pavement licence is needed before they’re able to put out tables and chairs.

A council spokesman said: “We want everyone to enjoy the good weather, and eating or drinking in the sunshine makes us all feel good. That’s great, but businesses also need to be mindful, and to make sure that they’re not blocking access on public pavements. If they do want to put out tables and chairs, then we want them to do so in the right way.”

All businesses need a pavement licence if they want to put out tables and chairs on the public highway.

The council added that the requirement for a licence is to avoid footpaths becoming blocked to wheelchair users, buggies or prams, or difficult for people with reduced mobility, as sometimes, pavements are too narrow to have tables or chairs so the licence application would consider the width of the footpath and the impact there would be on the public.

The licence sets out how many tables and chairs can be put out, and where they should be, and there must be a minimum width of two metres of footway remaining for pedestrians.

Devon County Council’s highways officers can ask business to move tables or chairs if a licence hasn’t been permitted or if they’re putting out furniture that isn’t as per their permission.

They also have the power to remove an unlicensed items from the highway and non-compliance may result in a £1,000 fine.

The spokesman added: “A vibrant café culture in our towns is good for the economy and our local communities. We want to encourage it, but we want to help businesses do it right.”

A licence costs £85 a year to renew, or £200 if it’s new.

They are non-transferable, so a new licence would be needed if there’s a change of business ownership.

They are available from Devon County Council, except in Exeter, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and Totnes, where local councils administrate them.

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