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Gloucestershire Business News

Council streamlines process as outdoor application law passed

Cotswold District Council has launched its streamlined application process to allow restaurants, pubs and cafes to place tables and chairs outside.

The Business and Planning Act, designed to make it easier for hospitality businesses to extend licenses to outdoor areas as they look to reopen and follow social distancing guidelines, became law yesterday.

Punchline-Gloucester.com reported earlier this week how Cheltenham Borough Council was gearing up to process applications while Forest of Dean District Council had agreed to cover the cost of applications.

Council's prepare to fast-track applications 

Councillor Tony Dale, cabinet member for economy and skills at Cotswold District Council, said: "We are keen to support businesses in whatever way we can and I am delighted the government is making it easier to apply, and faster to process, applications for outdoor seating.

"We've got our applications open on the first day we can because we want to encourage as many applications as possible this summer.

"After a difficult time for the hospitality trade I hope adding tables and chairs for people having a meal or a drink in the sunshine will brighten up our town centres, make it easier for people to socially distance, and bring a bit of continental cafe culture to the Cotswolds."

He continued: "For some businesses, the ability to use outdoor space in this way will make the difference between the business remaining viable or not, so this new opportunity is critically important.

"We'll do our bit by making sure we process licences as quickly as possible."

The Forest of Dean has launched its applications process.

Councillor Bernie O'Neill, cabinet member for economy, said: "I am pleased we have been able to get the scheme up and running on the first possible day and that the council is covering all the costs of applications.

"These are challenging times for all town centres and I hope encouraging outside seating like this will let residents know that the Forest's towns are open for business and safe for visitors.

"We will still need to make sure that pavements are clear so people can safely pass by and that there is no nuisance, but we want as many places as possible to make full use of this change in legislation.'

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