Harborough council is being urged to speed up handing out free pavement licences to businesses battling the Covid-19 crisis across the district.
The urgent call has come from Cllr Phil Knowles as traders are working flat out to bounce back from the shocking five-month coronavirus outbreak.
Cllr Knowles, who leads the authority’s Liberal Democrats, said: “I’m asking our council to get a move on.
“We have voted as a council to dish out these special licences free for the next six months.
“I fully support and applaud this decision.
“But time is of the absolute essence – we have to act now.”
The long-serving councillor for Great Bowden and Arden said very few, if any, bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants had applied for the paperwork to put tables and chairs outside on thye path.
“The traders and business people I’ve spoken to seem genuinely confused as to how to apply for this licence and if they qualify for it.
“I am suggesting sticking all the rules and regulations and ins and outs on a single-sided A4-sized sheet of paper,” said Phil.
“That would make it so much easier and so much more convenient to digest and understand at a glance.
“We still have Harborough Helpers wandering about Market Harborough and elsewhere helping both shoppers and businesses during this coronavirus pandemic.
“So why don’t we ask them to pop an information sheet giving the total lowdown on pavement licences into each business?
“This scheme is obviously entirely weather-dependent.
“We are already deep into August.
“The brilliant sunshine and intense heat of the last couple of weeks won’t last too much longer.
“So we have to act before it’s too cold and too wet for pubs, cafes and other traders to consider moving out on to the pavement.
“Drumming up extra custom from customers outside could be a make or break measure for so many outlets right across Harborough.
“So there is not another day to lose – we have to kick on now.”
Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough council, said: “Whilst we have promoting the opportunity that local businesses have, during this recovery period, to apply for pavement licences, for which the council has waived the fee for applications, it is critically important that businesses check the criteria on our website to ensure they are eligible.
“We have also been promoting the Leicestershire Business Recovery Fund available to help businesses adapt and overcome the impact they may be facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
He added: “As well as promoting our Shop Local campaign and a raft of other initiatives, our Economic Development team is working closely with businesses, alongside partners such as the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), to assist them at this challenging time and will continue to do so.”
You can check out everything you need to know about pavement licences on Harborough council’s webpage here: