Bid to ban takeaways' chairs from busy route
CAFES and takeaway owners near Weston-super-Mare seafront could be banned from putting tables and chairs outside their premises.
North Somerset Council is considering the possibility of revoking the licence which allows cafes, fast food outlets and restaurants to place tables and chairs outside their business.
The move follows concerns about the tables and chairs being a hazard to pedestrians.
With the opening of the resort's Grand Pier and the completion of the new sea defences and pier square, the number of people visiting the seafront has increased.
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Council chiefs say the tables and chairs in some areas – particularly parts of Regent Street – are causing problems for pedestrians while they try to cross the road.
Currently cafe owners and restaurateurs pay a fee to North Somerset Council for a licence to put their tables and chairs on the pavement.
If the move to revoke the licences is agreed, it would affect the stretch of pavement between the junction of High Street and Regent Street up to the entrance of the Grand Pier.
Currently anyone who has a licence to put chairs and tables outside has to have a member of staff outside at all times, working as a waitress and supervising the tables.
Two takeaways that may be affected by the move are the Water Front Fish Bar and the Mitey Bite takeaway – both of which have tables outside their premises.
In a report by the council it says that street cafes can make a positive contribution to the street scene and to the vitality of shopping and tourist areas, bringing life, colour and interest on the street.
But officers are questioning the extent and location of some seating and say that together with queuing from shops it can restrict movement for pedestrians, especially those with limited mobility.
North Somerset Council deputy leader, Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, said: "Over the last few months there have been a number of problems with tables and chairs on the pavement causing obstructions.
"We have seen a lot more people visiting the seafront due to the Grand Pier re-opening and the seafront enhancement works being completed along with the refurbishment of Pier Square.
"Some of the tables and chairs outside restaurants are reducing the area of pedestrian thoroughfare which is dangerous, especially with people needing to cross the road.
"The stretch which will be affected is from the junction of Regent Street with the High Street up to by the Grand Pier.
"We have monitored the situation over the last few months and have talked to restaurant and cafe owners about relocating their chairs as well as other different options.
"I do want to stress that it will only be a couple of establishments in this area that could be affected and the arrangements for the majority will remain unchanged."
Council chiefs will now decide whether to liaise further with cafe and takeaway operators affected to assess if there are any strong reasons to continue with the licences, or withdraw consent for outdoor seating with immediate effect.