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Council to get tough on outside seating permits

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 6:51am

By Ed Oldfield, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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.

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