FEES to set up 'street cafes' in Caerphilly county borough will be waived for the next year in an attempt to help the area recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The county borough council’s cabinet has agreed to make the process easier for Caerphilly businesses to create a 'street café culture' to help maximise the use of public spaces.

A report on the proposal says: “Creating a ‘street café’ culture can also assist in the longer term re-purposing of town centres as they strive to survive in tough economic conditions and pressure from the move to online shopping.

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“They should not obstruct the highway or create a hazard for pedestrians, especially for blind, partially sighted and other disabled people.”

The fees will be waived until September 30, 2021, to allow businesses time to recover from Covid-19 and to take advantage of the 2021 summer and spring period.

The cabinet has also approved changes to the consultation period to speed up the process for businesses wanting to place furniture on the street.

Currently, any proposal to put furniture on the street requires a 28-day consultation.

Although this won’t change, the council will adopt a process that is used in Swansea where a ‘Memorandum of Agreement’ is granted immediately, rather than a licence.

This will be valid for the 28-day consultation period and allow businesses to create their ‘street cafe’.

When the 28-day consultation is over the council will consider whether there are any appropriate objections received and decide whether to issue a full licence.

The report says: “Clearly, there is some risk that the council could be challenged if it adopted this approach but officers consider that this is a manageable risk with the supporting business benefits outweighing the risks of challenge.”

The changes will be subject to review.