Could licensing greens help get bars and pubs moving again?

Could licensing St Gregory's Green help bars and restaurants?  PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Could licensing St Gregory's Green help bars and restaurants? PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

Licensing public spaces and using parking spaces for al fresco dining are two small changes which could have a “huge” impact on independent businesses, a retail expert has suggested.

The Norwich Lanes Association has submitted a series of suggestions to the city and county council to help businesses begin trading successfully after lockdown.

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Among the suggestions are using parking spaces along roads like Bedford Street and St Giles for tables and chairs.

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Also on the list of suggestions is granting a temporary alcohol license on St Gregory’s Green – near the Birdcage and the Grosvenor Fish Bar – to allow people to drink outdoors.

Jonty Young, spokesman for the Norwich Lanes Association, explained: “We sent an email out to all of our members asking what suggestions they had to help them start trading again. A lot of pubs and restaurants have no outdoor space – for example the Waffle House on St Giles. So we went and looked at parking spaces which could be used for tables and chairs to give them extra covers.”

Mr Young estimated that an additional two parking spaces being given over to tables could result in around 16 outdoor covers.

He said: “The difference could be huge. At the moment there’s a lot of talk about one or two metres but businesses don’t actually know which they will be required to do.

“The other thing is licensing St Gregory’s Green which would mean people could buy drinks at local bars and take it there. It was licensed in the 70s through to the 90s and then it was taken away. We’re seeing people drinking in Chapelfield Gardens and down by the river so I think it would make sense to do it there. You can always worry about anti-social behaviour but it happens everywhere. It’s licensed during the Norwich Lanes festival which has 15,000 people attend and we’ve never had a problem then.”

Mr Young was speaking after the launch of this newspaper’s Love Local campaign, which encourages readers to shop local and buy within the regional economy.

Since then this newspaper has held a series of webinars as well as lobbying government to make changes to support independent businesses.

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