Council serves up cafe rules

NEW Pavement Cafe Guidelines have been introduced to relax the rules for businesses.

The changes have been adopted by Northumberland County Council with immediate effect to replace the Pavement Cafe Policy and Conditions that were put in place in 2007.

They set out information more clearly and remove the need to obtain a licence or apply for planning permission for a pavement cafe, as well as remove fees unless onsite advice from officers is requested.

However, the council still strongly recommends that cafe owners have public liability insurance in case of an accident.

The guidelines, which also offer advice on controlling litter and setting out tables to avoid causing an obstruction, can be used by shopkeepers as they apply to outdoor displays of flowers, fruit and vegetables.

Council Executive Member for Infrastructure and Environment Isabel Hunter said: “Pavement cafes are enjoyed by many people in our towns and villages and we want to ensure that these can continue to be enjoyed, even though our priority must be to keep our highways clear and safe. These new guidelines make it clearer about the issues that must be considered and adhered to, but also take away some of the criteria which may have confused or discouraged some cafes or shops from applying for a licence to have a cafe or outdoor display.”