Glasgow licensees are set to be hit with an additional bill of £401 for having the privilege of having outside tables and chairs. The new charge is due to the fact that Glasgow City Council has now deemed that licensees must have planning permission for their outside areas, before the roads department will consider granting permission for ‘Section 59’ a street cafe licence. Licensees may also be required to pay an additional £125 to advertise the proposed plan. This is on top of the £409 (city centre only, out with £207) that they currently pay to renew their Section 59. Said one licensee, “Until now you had to give the roads department a plan with dimensions and they would come back to you with a letter granting permission but with an aside that said, ‘you may also need planning permission’. But now the roads department has said that they will not even look at any application without a letter from planning.”
An independent advisor to the trade said, “This applies as much to a cafe with two tables and chairs, as it does to the much larger operators. I would imagine very few licensees currently have planning permission for their outside areas. I can understand why planning may have to get involved if there are outside canopies and such like, but the safety side is already taken care of with the drawings submitted to the roads department.”
He also points out that while it may have been a part of council policy, it has never, until now, been an essential requirement.
So now licensees will require a) planning permission b) Section 59 consent and c) a licence (if alcohol is served). That will come to more than £1,000 in Glasgow city centre. Said one licensee, “Some of us may make more money from selling our outdoor furniture than by selling alcohol outside! This will not do much to fulfil the Council’s local area policy which includes to ‘generally encourage the creation of outdoor eating areas.’
The payment, which is a one-off, also does not take into account the fees associated with doing the drawings for the planning permission, and will be due when licensees come to renew their Section 59.