Al fresco seating could soon be introduced in popular high streets as councils prepare for potential legislation.

Hertfordshire County Council will be helping district and borough councils introduce extended outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes on high streets, should a new Government bill be approved next week.

The Business and Planning bill, currently with the House of Lords, will have a decision made on Monday (July 6).

Should it be approved, businesses will be able to apply for extended outdoor seating areas.

Any business which already has a licence in place will already be able to use their outdoor seating areas, but in line with safety guidance.

High streets could then be populated with more outdoor chairs and tables to create a safer environment when dining.

A spokesperson from Hertfordshire County Council said: “We have been working closely with district and borough councils, taking account of a new Government bill on pavement licenses, on how we can support the roll-out of tables and chairs on the highway to help the high street hospitality business as they start to reopen from July 4.

“This is very much about striking the right balance, allowing areas to be used for al fresco seating, provided there remains sufficient space for pedestrians to feel safe as they move about on our high streets.”

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “Pubs and bars have taken tremendous steps to operate safely and we ant to be as flexible as possible to help where we can.

“This includes looking at whether there is potential to extend seating areas outside in a way that is safe, and where we can, we will help to make this possible.”

Hertfordshire County Council have also confirmed more social distancing changes could be made in town as they will receive a £1.25 million fund to promote active travel like cycling and walking.

Busy streets of Hertfordshire, including Watford town centre, became more spacious for pedestrians in May as a move to encourage social distancing and lessen the need for public transport.

Watford Observer:

Watford Observer:

Some of the social distancing measures in place at Watford town centre. Photo: Nathan Louis

Barriers were introduced to the high street to block off bus stops and loading bays and a road closure was enforced.

The county council confirmed that the additional funding could be spent on making changes to where the measures were already rolled out, as well as other areas in Hertfordshire.

This could include replacing some of the temporary traffic barriers and cones with “more attractive” street furniture.

But it has not been confirmed where the funding will go towards, and if it will go to Watford.