Council officers have been told to halt enforcement of changes to new rules which could see Lichfield city centre businesses forced to remove outdoor seating areas.
It comes after outlets in parts of the city were told new pedestrianisation rules meant they would be restricted on when their customers could sit on the street at the front of their premises.
Bosses from Melbourne coffee shop on Bird Street were told no street furniture – including seating and tables – would be allowed from Monday to Wednesday.
A spokesperson said:
“We survived Brexit, Covid, energy prices and the soaring costs of goods as a business, but the council now wants to take away outdoor seating from the hospitality businesses in the city centre.
“When will stupid fights end and our energy go into running a business start?
“Being told we can put chairs and tables out after 12 from Thursday to Sunday only, yet the breakfast trade is from 8am to 11am – but that’s okay because Lichfield District Council has told me that chairs and tables during winter is for smokers only – that’s a huge slap in the face to pram pushers, wheelchair users, dog walkers and general people that choose to sit outside since Covid.”Melbourne spokesperson
The changes coincide with new pedestrianisation rules introduced this week which see blue badge holders, delivery drivers and permit holders able to access city centre roads on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
But Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of Lichfield District Council, said he had stepped in to prevent enforcement taking place in a bid to protect local businesses.
“A thriving street cafe culture in Lichfield is one of the very few positives borne out of Covid restrictions and I want to see it continue.
“I’ve asked officers at Lichfield District Council to pause any work they’re doing on enforcing pavement licences as it will put our hospitality economy at risk.”Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council
A Lichfield District Council spokesperson confirmed the temporary halt had now been put in place.
“Following the statement made today by Cllr Doug Pullen, we are pausing work on pavement licences in order to develop a clear policy working with all stakeholders.”Lichfield District Council spokesperson