Outdoor cafés plan is huge boost for city centre revival

A new-style outdoor drinking and dining policy has been unveiled to give a much needed boost to Plymouth’s hospitality industry and help revive the city’s economy.

A much more flexible approach is being introduced, giving businesses the opportunity to take more space where appropriate or some businesses to begin trading outside for the first time.

And the really good news for the city centre’s cafes and bars is that there will be no charge for a tables and chairs permit in this financial year.

Steve Hughes, chief executive of the Plymouth City Centre Company, said:

“We have been working on this for a few weeks with Plymouth City Council and I am delighted that we have been able to agree this new approach.

“It could save some businesses from going under. These businesses haven’t been able to trade for months so not having to pay for a permit will be a big help to get them up and running.”

Mr Hughes said he would be looking to explore ways of finding more space for businesses to trade outdoors that could include making use of nearby public space.

“It’s early days and this is going to take a bit of working out but we want to create a continental-style atmosphere that will attract shoppers and visitors who want to come and enjoy the city centre in a safe and welcoming environment.”

Cafes and bars are now working to are opening date of July 4 and it will not be legal to put out tables and chairs before that date.

Businesses can apply for a free temporary street café permit to put tables and chairs on the pavement outside their premises and providing their application looks ok, the council will give approval within five days. (There will still be a formal 28 day consultation for new applicants – so that fire and police can be consulted). The new permit will last until 31 March 2021.

Those that already have a valid street café permit do not need to apply, but if they want to extend operating hours or increase the street café area they must email networkmanagement@plymouth.gov.uk with permit details and requested changes.

Businesses must carry out and submit a risk assessment showing how they plan to follow government guidance on social distancing, including a basic site plan showing the location of furniture.

Issuing the permit will depend on how much space there is for people to be able to pass easily including people pushing prams or those in wheelchairs.  The Council will monitor the scheme.

Please see full details: https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/licensingandpermits/tablesandchairspermitonpublicroadorstreet