To support hospitality venues in Bedford, the council has confirmed it will cover the cost of temporary pavement licences ahead of 12 April, the earliest date that outdoor venues can reopen under the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
The permit costs £100 and allows a business to put tables and chairs outside their premises to serve food and drink.
Bedford Borough Council has pledged to reimburse applicants the total cost of a temporary pavement licence through the Town Centre Priority Fund.
The fund was created as part of the town centre plan and helps to fund events and activities that will attract residents and visitors to the town centre.
The news was welcomed by business owners, including Simon Gillet and Kelsey Carter owners the Gallery on Howard Street.
“From our viewpoint this is positive news. As I’m sure everyone knows, every little bit helps at the moment for a small business like us.
“We’re incredibly lucky to even have space for outdoor seating. We’re hoping people (much like ourselves) will be so desperate to sit down and have a coffee somewhere other than their house or a park bench that they’ll brave the weather.”
Of course, not all of Bedford’s cafes, pubs, restaurants and takeaways have space for outside heating.
“We need to still support the takeaways and delivery joints that won’t be able to open at all for sit in until at least May, like our pals at Vanilla Tree and Fay’s.” said Kelsey.
Councillor Henry Vann, Portfolio Holder for Town Centre and Planning, said: “This will help local businesses as they prepare to re-open.
“We are delighted to be able to offer this support through the Town Centre Priority Fund and with outdoor hospitality venues potentially being able to open from 12 April, we would urge businesses to submit their applications as soon as they can.
“More widely, we hope that this is a reminder that the Town Centre Priority Fund is there to support one-off spending and events to enhance our town centre and bring people into town and is open to any organisation or individual to come forward an apply for funding.”
Businesses can apply for a licence by submitting an application on the Council’s website here.