Westminster Council gives go-ahead for outdoor dining spaces

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Westminster Council gives go-ahead for outdoor al fresco dining spaces Coronvirus 4 July reopening

Related tags: Westminster city council, Al fresco, Restaurant, London, Coronavirus

Al fresco dining spaces are set to pop up across the City of Westminster from tomorrow (4 July).

It comes after the council gave hospitality businesses the green light to create safe outdoor dining zones for the summer months.

The plans, which were first set out last month​, include temporary permission for restaurants and cafes to set up tables and chairs outdoors, alongside "soft" road closures throughout the borough.

High-density hospitality areas across the City of Westminster - including Soho, Fitzrovia, Covent Garden and Marylebone - are covered under the plans 

Operators wishing to have table and chairs outside will still require a license, with the council saying it will introduce a fast-track pavement dining application process.

Meanwhile, those planning to sell alcohol in an outside space whose license limits them to only selling alcohol inside their venue will need to apply for a variation. 

Vertical drinking (i.e. people standing and drinking) outside venues will not be allowed.

A total of 59 streets across Westminster have authorisation to benefit from a combination of temporary timed closures that are primarily focused on evenings and weekends; widening of footways; and an extension of outdoor seating and private licenses.

They include the likes of Greek Street in Soho; Lisle Street in Chinatown; and Chiltern Street in Marylebone.

The news has been welcomed by many, including those behind the Soho Summer Street Festival campaign​, which was led by commercial landlord firms Soho Estates and Shaftesbury, and called for the temporary pedestrianisation of the Soho area to support hospitality businesses across the district.

"I am delighted that Soho will be re-opening this weekend and have been very impressed by the community spirit and the way the businesses have come together to achieve the pedestrianising of Soho," says John James, managing director of Soho Estates.

"There is still work to do though, in order to support more of our operators and offer a true lifeline we need to work towards earlier street closure times."

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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