Licence fees waived for Watford 'pavement cafes' in order to encourage street-dining culture

Watford Observer: Table for two sir? Table for two sir?

Watford Borough Council has waived licence fees for pavement cafes in the town centre - at a cost of £6,000 - in a bid to fulfil the Mediterranean street-dining culture touted in the original Parade redevelopment plans.

The council’s licensing committee agreed to cut the £367 application fee or £315 renewal fee to encourage more town centre businesses to join in the initiative, which is in the spotlight now Watford’s Big Events programme has officially launched.

Those businesses that got their pavement licence in this financial year will be reimbursed the fee.

The waiver only applies to businesses in The Parade at an estimated cost of £6,200 for the calendar year.

The move comes with the completion of improvement works to the top of town.

The licensing committee was told council officers reviewed the more generous space available for tables and chair in The Parade, and came to the conclusion this would represent a new opportunity to boost their businesses by providing a pavement cafe for the first time.

A report said: "In recognition of The Parade improvement works, the need for businesses’ co-operation and flexibility to accommodate the Big Events programme, and to encourage businesses to take advantage of the new opportunities in The Parade, the internal Town Centre Coordinating Group has suggested the licence fee be waived for 2014/15."

The report continued: "Some businesses may decide not to apply for licences this year if the fee is not waived.

"Other businesses may apply but perhaps may not be so cooperative in amending the physical layout of their pavement cafes to accommodate the events programme and/or market."

The waiver was agreed at the licensing committee meeting on Monday.

The committee also approved a small, limited trial of street trading in The Parade to complement the Big Events programme.

Up until now only two commercial traders have been allowed to trade in the town centre - a fruit and vegetable stall outside Yates and a fruit and vegetable stall in Charter Place.

Licensing manager Jeffrey Leib said: "We will allow no more than four traders at a time, not anything competing with the existing traders.

"For example in December, when we plan to put an ice rink in the town centre, it might be nice to have a stall selling hot chestnuts."

When there is an opportunity to have commercial traders set up in the town centre, the council will allocate the spaces and choose from the most appropriate applications on a first come first serve basis.

Councillor Asif Khan, who represents Leggatts ward, was concerned that these initiatives applied only to The Parade area and not the whole of Watford.

He said: "There are other areas of Watford. It would be nice to have more pavement cafes and markets in other streets in the town. I would be interested in how we can get these things going in certain parts of the St Albans Road."

Comments (18)

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5:42pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially?

In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford?
Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially? In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford? Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -6

7:16pm Wed 16 Jul 14

The Rover says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially?

In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford?
Phil, I agree. I am sure there are restaurants away from the Town Centre who will be at a disadvantage because of this. I can think of a few restaurants in St.Albans Road where outdoor seating is possible
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially? In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford?[/p][/quote]Phil, I agree. I am sure there are restaurants away from the Town Centre who will be at a disadvantage because of this. I can think of a few restaurants in St.Albans Road where outdoor seating is possible The Rover
  • Score: 5

8:45pm Wed 16 Jul 14

LSC says...

The Mediterranean culture idea is great for Watford. All we lack is the weather, and, well, the Mediterranean. Oh, and the laid-back temperament of the locals. And cheap prices for food and wine. And decent service. And fresh food.
Or in fact all the reasons many people holiday near the Mediterranean and not in Watford.
The Mediterranean culture idea is great for Watford. All we lack is the weather, and, well, the Mediterranean. Oh, and the laid-back temperament of the locals. And cheap prices for food and wine. And decent service. And fresh food. Or in fact all the reasons many people holiday near the Mediterranean and not in Watford. LSC
  • Score: 14

8:45pm Wed 16 Jul 14

drunkenduck says...

It may have pro's for the traders and it has it negatives in packs to others.

As the Parade has started to fill up with too much clutter i.e. street furniture, objects and furniture etc from these bars & cafes. It has started to become an an obstacle course to many people, like for the old folks, disabled etc as this may cause an obstruction to them and who're then are not able to enjoy the parade as they should be allow to also.

But these parts of the high st and others parts of Watford, as even pedestrians have to walk onto the road to get past. Because to much clutter, advertisement signs, furniture etc causing an obstruction and a danger to those who wish to walk by. As not everybody is able to either see and have movement like most of us do.

So are these traders and the council discrimination against others?
It may have pro's for the traders and it has it negatives in packs to others. As the Parade has started to fill up with too much clutter i.e. street furniture, objects and furniture etc from these bars & cafes. It has started to become an an obstacle course to many people, like for the old folks, disabled etc as this may cause an obstruction to them and who're then are not able to enjoy the parade as they should be allow to also. But these parts of the high st and others parts of Watford, as even pedestrians have to walk onto the road to get past. Because to much clutter, advertisement signs, furniture etc causing an obstruction and a danger to those who wish to walk by. As not everybody is able to either see and have movement like most of us do. So are these traders and the council discrimination against others? drunkenduck
  • Score: 2

10:11pm Wed 16 Jul 14

watford1881 says...

Can't wait to have lunch in the rain, wind & Snow.. Believeit or not this is Britain NOT the south of France.. Itll only work for 3/4 months a year.. The pigeons will be rubbing there feet together...
Can't wait to have lunch in the rain, wind & Snow.. Believeit or not this is Britain NOT the south of France.. Itll only work for 3/4 months a year.. The pigeons will be rubbing there feet together... watford1881
  • Score: 2

11:16pm Wed 16 Jul 14

HornetJJ says...

Why are people always so negative? If you dislike Watford so much go and live somewhere else. You will then realise Watford isn't actually that bad. For the record we've so far had a pretty decent summer just like last year. It's been in the mid to high 20's all week and it's going to be 32 degrees on Friday so this will be useful!!
Why are people always so negative? If you dislike Watford so much go and live somewhere else. You will then realise Watford isn't actually that bad. For the record we've so far had a pretty decent summer just like last year. It's been in the mid to high 20's all week and it's going to be 32 degrees on Friday so this will be useful!! HornetJJ
  • Score: 10

11:33pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

The argument isn't how much people can use outside tables without freezing to death or drowning, it's over the cost of being allowed to do it, even if it is just for a part of the year.

The principle surely must be that all traders are treated fairly. If it's free for one, it should be free for all. I can't see a reasoned fair argument against that.

The thing about taxes, aka taking money off people and businesses, is that they should be fair and reasonable. I don't think this tax idea by the LibDems and is anything but another Dotty idea doomed to failure.
The argument isn't how much people can use outside tables without freezing to death or drowning, it's over the cost of being allowed to do it, even if it is just for a part of the year. The principle surely must be that all traders are treated fairly. If it's free for one, it should be free for all. I can't see a reasoned fair argument against that. The thing about taxes, aka taking money off people and businesses, is that they should be fair and reasonable. I don't think this tax idea by the LibDems and is anything but another Dotty idea doomed to failure. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -5

12:47am Thu 17 Jul 14

Andrew1963 says...

£6000 is not a lot of money to the council, the Mayor and her husband get up paid that a month, but the saving for individual businesses is an important saving. Only Four stalls in the Parade - there is space for more.
£6000 is not a lot of money to the council, the Mayor and her husband get up paid that a month, but the saving for individual businesses is an important saving. Only Four stalls in the Parade - there is space for more. Andrew1963
  • Score: 6

7:38am Thu 17 Jul 14

cgpc Rob says...

Only restriction why some traders might not be able to use pavements to enhance their business should be pavement width, councils started charging greengrocers years ago, another reason they struggled.
Only restriction why some traders might not be able to use pavements to enhance their business should be pavement width, councils started charging greengrocers years ago, another reason they struggled. cgpc Rob
  • Score: 0

8:50am Thu 17 Jul 14

jasonwatford says...

mmmm sitting outside chicken cottage on st albans road with constant traffic jams and cars and buses pumping out fumes , Why don't you look at the big picture eh ??? Who would want that
mmmm sitting outside chicken cottage on st albans road with constant traffic jams and cars and buses pumping out fumes , Why don't you look at the big picture eh ??? Who would want that jasonwatford
  • Score: 3

9:10am Thu 17 Jul 14

cgpc Rob says...

jasonwatford wrote:
mmmm sitting outside chicken cottage on st albans road with constant traffic jams and cars and buses pumping out fumes , Why don't you look at the big picture eh ??? Who would want that
That's the choice of the people eating, at the moment, no choice unless a fee is paid.
[quote][p][bold]jasonwatford[/bold] wrote: mmmm sitting outside chicken cottage on st albans road with constant traffic jams and cars and buses pumping out fumes , Why don't you look at the big picture eh ??? Who would want that[/p][/quote]That's the choice of the people eating, at the moment, no choice unless a fee is paid. cgpc Rob
  • Score: -2

9:13am Thu 17 Jul 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

jasonwatford wrote:
mmmm sitting outside chicken cottage on st albans road with constant traffic jams and cars and buses pumping out fumes , Why don't you look at the big picture eh ??? Who would want that
Probably no-one.

the thing is, any cafe could do it at no extra cost if they thought customers might like it. I think that's a good thing.
[quote][p][bold]jasonwatford[/bold] wrote: mmmm sitting outside chicken cottage on st albans road with constant traffic jams and cars and buses pumping out fumes , Why don't you look at the big picture eh ??? Who would want that[/p][/quote]Probably no-one. the thing is, any cafe could do it at no extra cost if they thought customers might like it. I think that's a good thing. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -4

9:41am Thu 17 Jul 14

TRT says...

I agree with DrunkenDuck. When they had Imagine on the Parade, it was nigh on impossible to get around. Street performers with enormous inflated egg-bums roaming around with those cafes that already had street licenses taking up even more room, and cyclists bereft of a cycle lane just squeezing through wherever they could. They spent that £4.5m in order to create an(other) entertainment space. So now we've got competition between the entertainments and the street eaters. Or does zeroing the fee mean that the council can tell the cafe owners to get out of the way when they need the space?

The principle of the licensing is to ensure that places keep within their allotted limits for the purposes of fair competition, safety and clutter. Scrapping the fee makes it look like a free for all. Even some nominal amount to cover administration and the enhanced street cleaning required as a result of outdoor eaters would send a signal that you need to have your seating plan approved. The current fee is more than reasonable. £300? For a whole year? You could make that in a day's covers.
I agree with DrunkenDuck. When they had Imagine on the Parade, it was nigh on impossible to get around. Street performers with enormous inflated egg-bums roaming around with those cafes that already had street licenses taking up even more room, and cyclists bereft of a cycle lane just squeezing through wherever they could. They spent that £4.5m in order to create an(other) entertainment space. So now we've got competition between the entertainments and the street eaters. Or does zeroing the fee mean that the council can tell the cafe owners to get out of the way when they need the space? The principle of the licensing is to ensure that places keep within their allotted limits for the purposes of fair competition, safety and clutter. Scrapping the fee makes it look like a free for all. Even some nominal amount to cover administration and the enhanced street cleaning required as a result of outdoor eaters would send a signal that you need to have your seating plan approved. The current fee is more than reasonable. £300? For a whole year? You could make that in a day's covers. TRT
  • Score: 1

9:57am Thu 17 Jul 14

LocalBoy1 says...

Mediterranean street-dining culture . Yeah, right and we have Mediterranean weather in the UK, don't we.
Mediterranean street-dining culture . Yeah, right and we have Mediterranean weather in the UK, don't we. LocalBoy1
  • Score: 0

10:45am Thu 17 Jul 14

cgpc Rob says...

It could be on pavements width, no more than one third of available pavement, so 20 foot pavement, 6/7 ft availability.
Any pavement under 10 foot, traders excluded outside displays etc.
It could be on pavements width, no more than one third of available pavement, so 20 foot pavement, 6/7 ft availability. Any pavement under 10 foot, traders excluded outside displays etc. cgpc Rob
  • Score: 0

9:18pm Thu 17 Jul 14

WatfordAlex says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially?

In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford?
Ok Phil, so you scrap all these charges, and all the other council charges you have already said need scrapping. You want to scrap parking charges and lower Council tax. The Government is lowering the grants councils get as well, so what services would you cut? Close the leisure centres, shut the Musuem, sell of some parks, maybe stop the street cleaning? What planet are you on!?
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially? In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford?[/p][/quote]Ok Phil, so you scrap all these charges, and all the other council charges you have already said need scrapping. You want to scrap parking charges and lower Council tax. The Government is lowering the grants councils get as well, so what services would you cut? Close the leisure centres, shut the Musuem, sell of some parks, maybe stop the street cleaning? What planet are you on!? WatfordAlex
  • Score: 3

11:00pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Feel Coax says...

WatfordAlex wrote:
Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially?

In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford?
Ok Phil, so you scrap all these charges, and all the other council charges you have already said need scrapping. You want to scrap parking charges and lower Council tax. The Government is lowering the grants councils get as well, so what services would you cut? Close the leisure centres, shut the Musuem, sell of some parks, maybe stop the street cleaning? What planet are you on!?
Planet UKIP where everything is free.
[quote][p][bold]WatfordAlex[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially? In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford?[/p][/quote]Ok Phil, so you scrap all these charges, and all the other council charges you have already said need scrapping. You want to scrap parking charges and lower Council tax. The Government is lowering the grants councils get as well, so what services would you cut? Close the leisure centres, shut the Musuem, sell of some parks, maybe stop the street cleaning? What planet are you on!?[/p][/quote]Planet UKIP where everything is free. Feel Coax
  • Score: 3

12:23am Fri 18 Jul 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

WatfordAlex wrote:
Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote: Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially? In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford?
Ok Phil, so you scrap all these charges, and all the other council charges you have already said need scrapping. You want to scrap parking charges and lower Council tax. The Government is lowering the grants councils get as well, so what services would you cut? Close the leisure centres, shut the Musuem, sell of some parks, maybe stop the street cleaning? What planet are you on!?
Once again WatfordAlex prefers to make things up than report the truth.

What a shame the LibDems (I assume WA is a LibDem) are such strangers to the truth.
[quote][p][bold]WatfordAlex[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Surely you have to apply this fairly, to all cafe's in the centre of town or some cafes will be at a disadvantage financially? In fact, why not scrap the charges altogether and make Watford a better place? Apply free licences to all of Watford?[/p][/quote]Ok Phil, so you scrap all these charges, and all the other council charges you have already said need scrapping. You want to scrap parking charges and lower Council tax. The Government is lowering the grants councils get as well, so what services would you cut? Close the leisure centres, shut the Musuem, sell of some parks, maybe stop the street cleaning? What planet are you on!?[/p][/quote]Once again WatfordAlex prefers to make things up than report the truth. What a shame the LibDems (I assume WA is a LibDem) are such strangers to the truth. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: -2
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