South Scotland

Scottish Borders cafe culture efforts encouraged

Coffee and a biscuit Image copyright Thinkstock

A three-year trial permit system is being proposed to help to encourage a "cafe culture" on high streets throughout the Scottish Borders.

The scheme would allow businesses to temporarily put tables and chairs outside their premises.

A report to councillors said some sites already did so but there was a need for a "consistent approach".

A review of the system is being proposed after its first year if it is agreed by Scottish Borders Council.

The local authority is said to be keen to encourage a more continental atmosphere with "good quality tables and chairs".

However, it also recognised that the needs of pedestrians and those with disabilities needed to be considered.

'Mishmash of tables'

A report to the council's executive committee said some businesses had sought permission for tables and chairs while others had not.

"This has led to a mishmash of tables and chairs on high streets of varying qualities and in various locations," it said.

The permit system would allow greater consistency across the region with a number of terms and conditions applied.

They would include:

  • food must be the main business of the establishment
  • permit holders must have insurance to cover external trading
  • tables and chairs must be of good quality
  • a solid barrier must surround tables and chairs
  • the permit holder must keep the area clean and tidy
  • customers will have to leave the seating area by 21:00
  • a permit may be withdrawn if "reasonable complaints" cannot be resolved

The report concluded that the system could contribute to "sustainable economic growth" which is one of the council's key priorities.

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