Torbay Council is owed around £3,400 from businesses that have refused to pay
A Devon council is planning to get tough with cafes and restaurants that refuse to pay for a permit to put tables and chairs on the pavement.
Torbay Council is owed around £3,400 from 14 businesses that have refused to pay for their pavement licences.
The council’s licensing committee was told the money currently had to be chased as a civil debt.
Members approved a new policy to allow officers to revoke a licence if it remained unpaid after 14 days.
Businesses would then be treated as unauthorised and would have their furniture seized and be sent a bill for the cost of enforcement.
Premises found using the pavement without a licence would be told to remove the furniture and apply for a licence within seven days.
If they ignored the letter they also would face their tables and chairs being removed and get a bill for the cost.
The council’s principal officer for licensing and public protection Gary O’Shea told councillors that businesses refusing to pay was unfair on those which did.
He said: “There is no power unless we change the policy to actually take any action to remove the permit.”
Mr O’Shea said officers had recently identified nine cafes using pavements without a licence and had received six applications.
Two had removed the furniture and another was being given more time because of a change in ownership.
The new policy also widens the requirement for unobstructed pavement space in busy areas to 2m so two wheelchairs can pass easily.