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Lewes District Council fast tracks summer al fresco fun for all

Cllr Johnny Denis
Cllr Johnny Denis, Lead Member for Customers and Communities

Lewes District Council will shelve a raft of usual licencing requirements to give customers at pubs, restaurants and cafes the opportunity to enjoy more al fresco drinking and dining during the summer months.

The council decision will help hospitality businesses that have been shut because of the Covid-19 pandemic and in desperate need of a summer boost to trade.

On April 12, the relaxation of regulations will give operators the scope to put out seating, tables and food stalls on pavements and marquees in pub and restaurant gardens, without any of the fees that would normally accompany a licence.

Councillor Johnny Denis, Cabinet Member for Customer and Communities, said: "We are firing the starting gun on the summer and giving our hospitality industry the head start it needs.

"The last year has been nothing short of desperate for so many businesses in the district and as we have done throughout the pandemic, we are pulling out all the stops to help."

Lewes District Council implemented a fast track planning advice service last year that has helped businesses adapt quickly to the many challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, council officers have paid out over £30.5 million in emergency grants since the first lockdown to businesses and the self-employed in the district.

More recently, the council introduced a new grant funding opportunity for the self-employed who haven't qualified for any of the government grants.

Councillor Emily O'Brien, Cabinet Member for Planning, added: "From April 12, we will all be able to gather and enjoy a drink of something to eat, rekindling friendships and family ties, but ever mindful of the need to observe the rules on social distancing.

"And as a council we will of course also continue to provide businesses with whatever financial support is available through the system of emergency grants."