A new initiative to keep pavements and footways clear for pedestrians is being launched by Brighton & Hove City Council.
The council will be marking out the areas outside city centre restaurants and cafes to ensure that tables and chairs remain within the permitted site. The schemes will also be used for outdoor shop displays and advertising boards.
The council hopes the move will improve safety for all pedestrians but particularly those with buggies, wheelchairs and the visually impaired.
Highway enforcement officers will begin visiting businesses in April to re-measure the licensed areas and mark the footways with anti-slip tape to show the boundaries
Council is hoping to have all outside seating areas, shop displays and advertising boards marked out by October.
Any business within the city’s licensing zones, wishing to place an advertising board shop display or outside seating on the public highly must apply to the council for a licence. Licences are issued for a maximum of 12 months and are reviewed annually.
Last year Brighton & Hove City Council issued 440 licences for A boards and 280 for tables and chairs.
In addition, 1,852 skip licenses and 1,497 scaffolding licences were issued by the council.
The council’s robust approach to licensing has resulted in a drop in complaints this year. In particular, complaints about A boards which fell from 70 to 48 and tables and chairs from 53 to 36. Complaints about scaffolding also fell from 153 to 38.
However the council hopes that the new measures will go even further to reduce complaints and increase safety.
Cllr Stephanie Powell, chair of the licensing committee said: “Outdoor seating, advertising boards, shop displays and outdoor seating are important marketing tools for businesses and add to the vibrant street scene in Brighton & Hove.
However, the safety of pedestrians is our upmost priority and we must do everything we can to ensure that pavements are kept free from clutter particularly for those with young children or who are sight or mobility impaired.
“We are confident that by marking the footways was can work with businesses to keep tables chairs and other obstructions from straying beyond the permitted boundaries and causing an obstruction.
“By working together in this way we can provide a safer, welcoming and more pleasant city centre environment for all our residents and visitors.”
A report outlining the scheme will be presented to the council’s licensing committee on March 5.