Bedford Borough Council HQ Image:Bedford Borough Council

Bedford Borough Council said it will cover the costs of temporary pavement licences for hospitality venues in the town centre ahead of 12 April, the earliest date that outdoor venues can reopen under the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

A temporary pavement licence permits a business to place tables and chairs outside of their premises and to serve food and drink to customers on the public highway.

The current cost of a pavement licence is £100 and it is currently valid until September 2021.

This may continue to 30 September 2022, following the Communities Secretary’s announcement he intends to extend pavement licences for a further 12 months, pending parliamentary approval.

To support hospitality venues in the town centre, Bedford Borough Council has pledged to reimburse applicants the total cost of a temporary pavement licence through the Town Centre Priority Fund.

This 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.

Councillor Henry Vann, portfolio holder for town centre and planning, said:

“This will help local businesses as they prepare to re-open. With a roadmap out of lockdown now available this will support businesses to open in a safe and secure way as footfall returns to the town centre and businesses welcome customers back.

“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.”

If you would like to apply for a licence, you can submit an application on the Council’s website.