Alfresco revolution to help business bounce back

Wednesday 1 July 2020

This weekend pubs, bars and restaurants will open for business in Kensington and Chelsea with an al fresco dining boom ahead of the summer.

The Council will be cutting red tape to help businesses bounce back safely as part of its new summer trading policy, to protect lives and protect livelihoods as lockdown eases.

Licensing, planning and enforcement will all speed up their processes, in line with expected national government legislation, to make sure businesses can serve customers safely.

New measures include:

  • A one stop shop information centre for businesses covering all the advice and support they might need for reopening on the Council’s dedicated ‘reopening your business’ portal.
  • More room for al fresco dining with flexibility for pavement widening, using parking spaces and neighbouring shop frontages for extra tables and chairs.
  • Speeding up processes with outdoor dining licences granted within 14 days of an application, depending on government legislation.
  • Fast-tracked planning permission for outdoor seating so pubs and restaurants can serve outside as soon as their license is approved, if approved by government.
  • Enforcement officers and community wardens will act as Street Ambassadors, supporting businesses with safe social distancing.

Cllr Catherine Faulks, Lead Member for Economy, Employment and Innovation, said:

“Kensington and Chelsea is open for customers. This summer will be crucial for local business and we are doing everything in our power to help protect lives and protect livelihoods. We will fast-track the paperwork so our world-famous bars, pubs and restaurants can safely get back to doing what they do best – providing an exceptional service for customers.”

Pubs and bars will also be able to use their own toilet facilities for customers, and those with alcohol licenses will also be able to sell alcohol for sale on or off the premises.

As well as setting out a summer trading policy, full of temporary measures to support business, the council has also created a summer checklist, to make sure interventions respect local residents. All license holders should consider noise nuisance to local residents,  have processes to manage queues to their own premises, keep the streets clear of litter and have appropriate insurance policies in place.

Since March, the Council has:

  • provided a share of a dedicated £500,000 fund to 147 businesses who did not qualify for government finance
  • given rent relief to market traders and commercial property tenants
  • introduced new traffic closures to aid social distancing at the famous Portobello Market
  • announced active travel plans to encourage cyclists and pedestrians to shop in the borough, including a potential pop up cycle route on Kensington High Street
  • ran a business survey to establish local priorities, with responses from 312 businesses. Concerns about customer demand topped the list of worries for business returning in K&C.
  • been administering business rate reliefs totalling £233m covering 3,138 businesses, and one-off business rate grants to 2,126 businesses totalling over £40m.