'All in it together' as cafe pavement licence fees axed

Portrait of town mayor

Richard Jenks - Credit: Newton Abbot Town Council

CAFE owners fighting to get their businesses back on track following the pandemic have been offered free pavement licences by Newton Abbot Town Council.

It is the second year in succession that the £90 fee has been waived and chimes with the authority’s primary objective of boosting the town’s economic regeneration.

A dozen eateries which use on-street seating are currently set to benefit from the move.

Mayor Cllr Richard Jenks said: "Pavement cafe licences are demanded by Devon County Council and cafes can be fined significant sums if they break the rules.

‘But in Newton Abbot we operate the system and our decision not to charge for renewals, or new applications which cost £200, sends a strong message of support to business operators.

"Members voted unanimously in favour of the proposal when it was discussed at our full council meeting.

"We made the same decision a year ago as we entered the first lockdown and never for a moment did we imagine that we’d still be in the same position a year later.

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‘"But here we are, hopefully with some light at the end of the tunnel, and we just felt that waiving the renewal and new application fees was a modest but important gesture as our town opens up for business.

"Now what we need is for customers to support the high street like never before.

‘"Whether we have a boom town or a ghost town is entirely in our hands so come on Newton Abbot, shop locally!’

The decision is expected to cost the Town Council approximately £1,000, a loss of income that Clerk Phil Rowe is confident his authority can afford.

"Until a year ago our number one priority was the delivery of Newton’s Place, our fantastic new museum and community hub," he said.

"Barring the delays brought about by Covid we’ve now achieved that, without adding a penny to council tax bills, and our attention has turned to economic regeneration.

"Doing away with the licence renewal fee for another year is a clear indication of our intentions.

"We’re all in this recovery together, that’s our pledge to the people of Newton Abbot."