Coronavirus: Harrogate MP backs call to give businesses street space

Coronavirus: Harrogate MP backs call to give businesses street space

Published by May Norman with contributions by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 6:51am 24th June 2020. (Updated at 6:53am 24th June 2020)

Andrew Jones supports calls for more outdoor space for district's cafes and bars

Harrogate and Knaresborough’s MP has backed calls for cafes, bars and restaurants to be given space on pavements when they reopen.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the tourism and hospitality sector can reopen from July 4 when social distancing rules are eased in the biggest step out of lockdown so far.

Speaking in Parliament after the announcement was made, MP Andrew Jones said:

“Harrogate and Knaresborough is in the top 10 per cent of constituencies in this country for the hospitality sector as measured by the number of people employed by it – almost 9,500 in our case.

“Many local authorities are looking to use streets and pavements for cafes and other hospitality businesses – that’s something I support.”

The Prime Minister added:

“This is the moment for ingenuity. I hope councils will be broad-minded and creative. There is plenty of space to be found.”

outdoor dining
It's hoped the move can allow more places to offer outdoor dining

Coun Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, last week made the call for businesses to be given outdoor space.

He said even with the relaxed one-metre social distancing rule it will be “very, very difficult” for some businesses to emerge from almost four months of lockdown.

Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District) has also got behind the idea and talks are now being held with North Yorkshire County Council, which is responsible for streets and highways.

Businesses will need licenses to operate outside and concerns have been raised over how quickly this can be done.

It has meant members of the BID board have called on councils to temporarily lift the licensing restrictions altogether.