Pavement licence charge in Chichester

Chichester District Council

Plans to re-introduce charges to allow businesses in Chichester to put tables and chairs outside their premises are to be looked at again by members of the cabinet.

Plans to re-introduce charges to allow businesses in Chichester to put tables and chairs outside their premises are to be looked at again by members of the cabinet.

Before Covid, West Sussex County Council was responsible for the relevant licences, charging around £500.

But things changed when the pandemic hit, with the district council given responsibility for processing applications for Pavement Licences – a temporary arrangement brought in in 2020 to help keep businesses afloat while observing social distancing rules.

While it could have charged up to £100, the council chose to make the licences free.

Now that temporary arrangement has become permanent and fees have been explored.

In June, the cabinet recommended they be set at: £285 for a new one-year licence, £222 to renew a one-year licence, £362 for a new two-year licence, and £298 to renew a two-year licence.

Members also recommended the charges be deferred until September 2025, giving businesses 15 months to apply for a free licence.
But they will have to look again after members of the licensing committee, who met on Wednesday (July 3), recommended a 20% reduction for businesses putting out five tables or less.

The meeting was told that only 17 businesses across the district currently hold a Pavement Licence, four being independent firms.
Of those, nine would benefit from the suggested discount.

The idea of charging at all was questioned by Helen Marshall, of the Chichester BID (Business Improvement District).
Ms Marshall welcomed the idea of deferring the charges until September 2025 but added: “The cost of issuing and enforcing these licences seems to me to be relatively modest for the council but would represent a considerable additional burden to our city’s hospitality businesses, who are still facing enormous pressures from the cost of living crisis.”
She asked if the council could look elsewhere to cover the cost of processing the licences rather than passing the cost to businesses.
She added: “This would give a strong message to our high street that the council is taking seriously the undoubted challenges they all currently face.” But she was told that the charges were ‘legitimate’.

It was explained that the proposed fees would only cover the council’s costs, not generate a profit.
 

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