CAFES and pubs have been given the green light to serve food and drink on outdoor tables thanks to a government scheme.

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has approved a fast-track pavement licensing scheme to support businesses reopening following the coronavirus lockdown.

Councillors unanimously agreed the policy, which means cafes and pubs will more easily be able to apply for licences to use pavements for tables and chairs to maximise their capacity whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The legislation – part of the Business and Planning Act 2020 – allows for an application fee, which is capped to a maximum of £100, to be levied but applicants within South Lakeland who apply in the first six weeks will not be charged. The Business and Planning Act makes it easier for premises serving food and drink such as bars, restaurants and pubs, as lockdown restrictions are lifted but social distancing guidelines remain in place.