Outdoor table tax for Cambridgeshire’s cafes, pubs and restaurants

CAF�, bar and restaurant owners across Cambridgeshire are to be taxed for the first time for providing tables and chairs outside their premises.

The county council is to introduce a one-off �315 licence to control the tables and chairs that go outside but the tax will not apply to those using less than five square metres of pavement.

Richard Preston, head of road safety and parking services, told Cabinet that until now there has been “a general lack of clarity over how the licensing of tables and chairs should be managed across Cambridgeshire”.

His report, accepted by Cabinet, will “achieve a consistent approach, ensure local members are at the heart of decision making and ensure that it is robust in terms of legislation.”

Mr Preston says applications for licenses “should be viewed positively” and made as simple as possible: there will be an on line application and local councillors will be notified.

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An assessment will be made by the county council and once advertised and consulted upon then officers will have powers to issue the licence. Only if objections are received would meetings take place but “the final decision will lie with the county council member and be executed under officer delegation.”

Mr Preston said the fee would cover processing, monitoring and enforcing the licence but to help those businesses requiring only small areas the fees could be waived for areas of less than five square metres.

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“Tables and chairs on the highway have the potential for supporting economic growth by enhancing the ambience of an area and promoting growth in business, especially leisure, tourism and retail,” said Mr Preston.

The county council says licences could be automatically renewed providing nothing had changed and with a renewal fee of �100.

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