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Street café culture for Sidmouth?

  • by JW

Temporary licences to support local businesses.


As the Herald reported last month, the VGS/STC questionnaire on life under coronavirus brought up some interesting proposals:


Of course, the Anchor Inn on Fore St already offers its guests space to sit outside – and maybe others could follow…

Residents also shared ideas for Sidmouth after lockdown.

These have included proposals for reducing traffic in the town, traffic-free days and specific delivery-times, encouraging people to ‘shop local’, wider pavements and cycle paths and more pedestrianisation and outdoor cafés.

Questionnaire results: How Sidmouth residents have coped with lockdown |

Life under lockdown – and how Sidmouth might recover – Vision Group for Sidmouth


Could we take on the ‘café culture’ of the Continent?

Lithuanian capital to be turned into vast open-air cafe |


Some in the hospitality industry are not so sure:

Cafe owner says plans to close major roads will ‘kill Bristol city centre’ |

New cycle lanes and wider pavements: the problems – Vision Group for Sidmouth


In Devon, the council is moving to make it easier for cafés and restaurants to apply for a licence:


Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The street cafe culture in our town and city centres across Devon has always been popular, and we’re hoping that accelerating the application process on this issue can help local cafes and pubs when they re-open.

“We’re doing what we can to support local businesses and this is another way that we can help our local economy to recover. The temporary licence will be supplied free of charge and the street cafe licence fee will only be applied when the formal licence has been issued.

“Applications will be assessed as quickly as possible, and, as long as they are safe, in line with the guidance, and provide pedestrians with a minimum of two metres to pass, an informal temporary licence will be issued.”

Temporary street cafe licences introduced – News centre


As reported by Sidmouth News Hub:


Temporary ‘street cafe’ licences are being introduced by Devon County Council to help hospitality businesses in Sidmouth reopen, as coronavirus lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

Although a large number of cafes and pubs currently remain closed, many are already planning for when they are able to reopen. Tables and chairs on paved or pedestrianised areas that are public highway, are among the ways cafes and pubs can help customers to maintain social distancing guidelines.

Although it remains the applicants’ responsibility to assess the layout of its customer seating area in relation to the government’s social distancing guidelines.

The County Council’s new informal temporary licence for street cafes will now speed up the application process in order to support local businesses.

Usually a 12-week formal process, including a statutory 28-day notice period for any representations to be made, is needed for a 12-month renewable licence for a street cafe. However, the temporary licence will enable businesses to provide outdoor seating while the consultation is being undertaken, rather than once the consultation is complete, as long as the application is not contentious and is in line with the Council’s terms and conditions.

Applications still need to be made in the normal way – click here for more information.

Sidmouth hospitality businesses could benefit from temporary ‘street cafe’ licence |


But this would need more space – which might necessitate the closing of some roads, or at least part pedestrianisation.


As of tomorrow, one Gloucestershire town is going to be doing that:


South Gloucestershire Council are introducing changes to Thornbury High Street … From Monday 8 June, the High Street between The Close and Castle Court will be closed to all through traffic, effectively pedestrianising the town centre, to allow people to shop safely by staying two metres apart.

Thornbury High Street closed to traffic to help residents stay safe – Travelwest


As the accompanying document says:


Our high streets will look and feel different if they are to thrive in the weeks and months ahead. We will need to allow shops, restaurants and cafes to trade outside immediately in front of their premises. We will need to provide extra space for locals to get around safely and be able to maintain social distancing, whether on foot or by bike.