Melton Mowbray cafe culture scuppered by fees


Traders in a Leicestershire town say attempts to create a cafe culture are being scuppered by county council fees.

The Melton Mowbray Food Partnership said firms were being dissuaded from placing tables and chairs outside cafes as they needed to apply for a licence.

The council requires an annual fee of £150 and says outside seating should be 1.8m (6ft) from the kerb.

The county council said the move was to ensure the safety of shoppers and traders.

Cafes will be allowed to keep their outdoor seating while they apply for a licence.

'Safe environment'

Matthew O'Callaghan, from the food partnership, which represents 15 cafes in the town, said the regulations would mean some cafes having to remove their outdoor seating completely.

He said a meeting between traders and the county council was being held to try to resolve the issue on Tuesday.

A county council spokesman said: "We are fully supportive of Melton's cafe culture and designed the measures to make sure that the businesses can expand and that the pavements remain distinct areas, as is the case in towns and cities across the country.

"The move helps to maintain a safe and attractive environment for traders, shoppers and residents and ensures the pavement is accessible by disabled people and parents with buggies.

"A vast majority of traders support this approach but we appreciate people's concerns and have written to each business individually, inviting them to contact the council directly if they wish to discuss their own situation, or to clarify the requirements."

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