Portsmouth business owners welcome plans to expand outside space
CITY business owners have welcomed plans to create additional outdoor spaces for customers on pavements and roads, saying it could boost trade and help keep the public safe.
Portsmouth City Council is looking at ways to support local businesses.
One idea includes what are known as 'parklets' - where a parking bay is suspended to allow for tables and chairs or a takeaway collection area.
Councillor Steve Pitt, the council's economic development boss, said: 'With government regulations on social distancing limiting their capacities, many of these businesses will struggle to make ends meet using only their current premises.
'We hope that by offering outside space, where it is safe and practical to do so, it will enable businesses to work together and be creative.'
Usually outside use would involve a six-week legal process but the council will let businesses start using the space as soon as they apply for a licence. The application will then be looked at while they are already trading.
The scheme was welcomed by Tara Knight, the owner of the Southsea Coffee Company cafe in Osborne Road, which is offering a takeaway service. She said: 'Looking at the new guidelines we would only be able to have six tables in use - including two outside. So from a business point of view this would be a massive benefit to us.
'I also think from a cultural point of view it would create a really amazing atmosphere, almost like a food festival type of thing. Now is the perfect opportunity to create a space like that and Osborne Road would be ideal.'
Landlord of The Golden Eagle Pub in Southsea, Phil Estell, believed it could help with socially distanced queuing. He said: 'We have got space for two cars out the front but because we're on a corner a lot of thought would need to be put in about what could go out there, in case cars are driving past too quickly.
'If that space could be used for queuing then that would definitely help. I've had so many people walk by the pub who have said they will be here on July 4. My biggest worry is if too many people turn up.
'I know there are lots of places in Albert Road that don't have outdoor seating that could benefit.'
Portsmouth businesses can call the council's helpline on 023 9284 1641 or email [email protected] for support.