Red tape to be cut in start of café culture

Bars and restaurants in Kettering could face a much simpler process if they want to have outdoor seating after the council pledged to reduce
bureaucracy in its bid to
create a café culture.

At a planning committee councillors voted to start public consultation on a local development order called Seats on Streets, which will make it a more simple process for café, restaurant r bar owners in the town centre who want to put tables and chairs outside.

They currently have to apply for both a street café licence from the county council and ask for planning permission from Kettering Council, a process which has seen just one successful application in the past four years.

Philip Mitchell, owner of the Market Street Mews Cafe, has been trying to get seats outside his premises for some time.

He said: “Anything the council can do to reduce the amount of red tape can only be good.

“I’ve spent £200 getting planning documents and designs drawn up.

“If the council wants a café culture, we’ll be up for that.”

Now businesses will just have to get a licence from the county council, providing certain criteria is met.

Tony Peel, co-owner of JavaJava, off Sheep Strret, said: “I think the idea of café culture is really important in getting people into the town and we’re one of the leading lights of it.

“We’ve got permission for 20 seats outside and it’s essential to drive that laid-back atmosphere.”

After public feedback, the order, which is operated in places such as Wellingborough and Nottingham, could be put in place by late summer.

The plan was passed unanimously by councillors.

Cllr Terry Freer, speaking at the meeting, said: “This is a victory for common sense.”