Al fresco licences that proved a lifeline for Bath’s pandemic-hit cafés and bars now up for renewal

September 7, 2021

Bath businesses granted pavement licences to help them continue trading during the pandemic are being invited to renew them for a second year.

The licences, introduced last summer, allowed businesses to set up tables and chairs outside their premises to enable customers to socialise and eat out safely.  

Some 69 cafés, pubs, bars and restaurants across Bath and North East Somerset took advantage of the scheme – proving a lifeline for many. They joined the 79 businesses that had already been granted regular permits for al fresco eating and drinking before the pandemic. 

Now Bath & North East Somerset Council is reminding current pavement licence holders to renew their applications for the coming year as well as inviting new applications from qualifying businesses that have not so far applied.

One business that took advantage of the scheme earlier this year was Dark Horse on Bath’s Kingsmead Square. Louis Lewis-Smith, who runs the cocktail bar, said having tables outside had provided a much-needed boost to the business.

“The terrace has been hugely successful,” he said. “This lifeline of being able to trade outdoors was very, very welcome and I’m thankful to those at the council who made the process easy and were understanding of our needs as a business.”

Deputy leader and cabinet member for resources and economic development, Cllr Richard Samuel, said as businesses were still facing serious challenges the council needed to offer as much support as it can to help them recover and flourish.

“Pavement licenses have proved an invaluable lifeline to many hospitality businesses during the pandemic, enabling them to open safely and cater for al fresco eating and drinking,” he added.

“I’ve been delighted to see many residents and visitors taking advantage of this, helping contribute to the recovery and vibrancy of our towns and city.”

Cabinet member for planning and licensing, Cllr Tim Ball, added: “We’ll be contacting all current pavement licence holders shortly and inviting them to submit a further application. If you are considering applying but aren’t sure whether your business qualifies, you’ll find lots of helpful information on our website.”

Find out more or to apply for a licence, click here

Pictured, from left: Cllr Richard Samuel, Louis Lewis-Smith of the Dark Horse, and Cllr Kevin Guy


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