The City of London Corporation will explore reallocating some street space to al fresco dining as part of its plan to safely reopen the Square Mile’s cafés and restaurants.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic all 138 ‘Tables and Chairs Licences’ in the city were suspended but, as the lockdown is gradually eased, the group said attention has turned to how the hospitality sector can reopen for business.
The Government has said hospitality venues will be able to reopen from 4 July at the earliest.
The City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee agreed that a “bespoke approach” must be taken to consider the resumption of outside trading in the city while social distancing rules remain in place.
It has agreed that licences will only be reinstated following a case by case review considering five principles:
- To put safety first
- To recognise the need to nurture a thriving economy in the City
- No privatisation of public space
- Having regard to space required to queue outside premises
- Having regard to new or existing public seating nearby
A variety of factors will be considered including the width of space available, footfall of pedestrians and any queues likely to form for nearby shops and attractions.
The City of London Corporation Current said estimates indicate just a small number of premises will initially meet the criteria, however, when social distancing guidelines are reduced to one metre, the number of premises will increase.
The group will also explore the potential to reallocate carriageway space on some streets in favour of publicly accessible tables and chairs where it is safe and practical to do so.
Alastair Moss, chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, said:
“We know the resumption of outdoor dining will be a welcome shift, but it is vital that the return of social spaces continues to be safe for all workers, residents and visitors to the City.
“These plans will be kept under review as Government legislation and guidance changes. We are ready to support the safe, sustainable and gradual return of people to the City, as it again becomes the thriving world-class centre for business.”