Published: 16:12, 24 July 2020
| Updated: 16:28, 24 July 2020
Bosses at pubs and restaurants in a Kent district can now apply for outdoor seating on neighbouring paths.
Canterbury City Council announced businesses in the hospitality sector can apply for a pavement licence from today - in a bid to give a post-lockdown boost to the industry.
Bars and cafés will also be able to apply following the relaxation in planning and licensing laws announced by the government last month.
This will be a temporary arrangement until September 2021.
There is a presumption the city council will grant the licence, unless there are specific issues.
A new fast track 14-day decision period will be introduced to streamline applications so businesses can get permission quickly and a cap on the fee at £100 will be in place.
If the council does not process the application within 14 days, it will be granted.
Tables and chairs cannot cause an obstruction or danger to pedestrians, and the council will take into account the impact on neighbours.
Council leader Rob Thomas said the scheme will "cut out a lot of the red tape" and is designed to help traders get outdoor spaces up and running as quickly as possible.
But he has urged owners to submit bids that are "sensible and reasonable" - taking into account everyone who needs to use the public spaces.
"Through a common sense approach, we can strike the right balance between the economic boost this scheme aims to achieve and a safe environment for all," he said.