Al fresco revolution could be here to stay

Published: Tuesday 16 November 2021

The al fresco revolution that saw hospitality businesses in Kensington and Chelsea providing on-street dining could become a permanent fixture in the borough from 2022.

Now the Council has launched a six-week consultation into plans to extend a trial scheme that introduced flexible licensing to allow restaurants, cafes and pubs to trade more easily on pavements, suspended parking bays and pedestrianised streets.

The scheme proved widely popular even after restrictions eased, with 114 outdoor dining terraces licensed on footway extensions and more than 450 pavement licenses issued in the borough.

Cllr Johnny Thalassites, Lead Member for Planning, Place and the Environment, said:

“Al fresco dining has taken over Kensington and Chelsea, with high demand for licenses and attractive outside spaces adding to the experience of buzzing destinations such as Pavilion Road and Bute Street.

 

“Adjusting our long-term policy around licensing means we can take successful interventions from the pandemic forward to benefit our businesses, residents and visitors.” 

As part of the new proposals, outdoor seating licenses could be approved for up to five years, hospitality businesses could have the opportunity to provide outdoor dining terraces on suitable streets during British Summer Time or year-round, and clear footway width requirements could be made more flexible where appropriate.

Individual applications made by businesses would still be assessed on a case-by-case basis against the policy to ensure they adhere to requirements outlined in the licenses.

The Council has consulted with residents, businesses and visitors on the impact of high streets interventions through surveys earlier this year, with support for extending al fresco dining provision. 

A final consultation process has been launched to gather feedback on the proposed key decision. The full Key Decision Report and accompanying information is available to view on our consultation portal and responses are invited to be sent to tablesandchairs@rbkc.gov.uk by Friday 31 December 2021.