Free street café licences that allow businesses to create outdoor seating areas on pavements are being made available by Leicester City Council.
As part of plans to welcome people back into the city centre when lockdown rules ease next month, hospitality businesses such as cafes, bars and restaurants will be able to apply for free temporary licences to help them extend their business out onto the streets.
Around 120 new temporary licences will be available, and the council will pay the usual application fee of £100 via Government grant funding. The licences will last until 30 September 2021, although the government is considering extending this to September 2022.
This is in addition to 72 permanent licences which have already been renewed, out of 109 in total, with the remaining businesses currently being contacted by the council and asked if they want to renew. All of these businesses have also been given an extra year for free, so that their licences now expire in 2022.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair, who leads on regulatory services, said: “I’m very pleased that we are able to offer businesses the chance to get a free licence to help them trade outdoors.
“National legislation means we can only offer temporary licences, but as these will last until at least September 2021, they should mean more businesses are able to take advantage of better weather in the spring and summer months.
“We’re also contacting businesses with an existing licence, if they haven’t renewed already, to offer them the chance to extend their licences for free. It’s important that any business that wants to have seating on the pavement has a licence to do so – but we want to make the process of getting one as easy and hassle-free as possible.”
Businesses have also benefitted from café seating grants awarded by the city council, to help them buy outdoor furniture. This grants scheme will reopen next month, so that more businesses can apply.