Glamorgan Council’s proposal to increase cost of outdoor seating prompts unhappy reactions from businesses

Businesses in Barry are not happy about the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s proposal to increase the cost of having outdoor seating.

As part of their proposed fees and charges for 2023/24, the council are looking at increasing the cost for businesses to have outdoor seating on pavements by as much as £750 for the year.

Businesses that have between five and 10 tables on pavements might have to pay £500 more than what they already do.

This would take the cost of their outdoor seating licence from £500 to £1,000 for the year.

With already high energy costs and spiralling inflation, some businesses in the Vale are saying the proposed charge is a step too far.

“They are adding more pressure on the small businesses. Rather than helping them out, they are crippling us with increasing costs,” said Gareth Saunders, a chef at the K9 Plus 1 Cafe on Friars Road, Barry.

“We have got to buy the furniture ourselves so why they are charging us to place it outside on the pavement… I don’t know why they would think that is acceptable.”

Commenting on the struggle that businesses already face with increased costs, Gareth added: “I am worried for my job, personally. I can see the worry in my boss’s face. We are struggling to make enough money just to pay the basics.”

The owner of Coastal Coffee on Paget Road, Jonathan Osborne, said he is not happy at all about the proposed cost increase for outdoor seating.

He said: “We pay for what we have got anyway, so I think it is naughty to be doubling the cost.

“Businesses are struggling as it is with electric and everything else in general.

“It is annoying. If you trade on the pavement you have to pay, but if you are on the promenade you don’t and they really need to have some sort of fairer system.”

Jonathan said he won’t reconsider having outdoor seating if the charge increase goes ahead, but added that it will have a big impact on his business.

He said: “It is just another cost we could do without. Our electric is tripling this year, so that is really not helping either.

“We will have to cut back on a lot of things just to find the extra.”

Supervisor at Cadwaladers on Paget Road, Tamzin Brown, said: “I feel like [Cadwaladers] will continue to pay it because if we lost the seating, we would lose so much custom.

“In the summer if you come over the island everyone is sat outside. You will get people inside, but that is because there is no outdoor [seating] free.”

Tamzin said she is concerned about the potential impact that the charge could have on business more generally on Barry Island.

She added: “It is so seasonal down here. In the summer you rely on the custom and if we haven’t got the outdoor seating who knows what will happen.”

Here are the charge increase proposals for cafe style licenses to trade on the highway in full:

One to two tables with up to eight chairs – £250 for the year
Three to four tables with up to 16 chairs – £500 for the year
Five to 10 tables with up to 40 chairs – £1,000 for the year
11 or more tables with over 40 chairs (plus £35 per
annum per chair over 40 chairs) – £1,500 for the year
A spokesperson for the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “In line with the Council’s budget strategy for meeting the £28m funding gap it faces this year, the majority of the proposed fees and charges reflect increases in line with inflation of between 5% and 11%.
“The increases proposed for outdoor trading licences are higher than this. However, the increase for even the largest trading areas will be equivalent to only 55p per day and the total cost only £1.37 a day.
“This cost has been set by reviewing the fees and charged levied by other local authorities surrounding the Vale of Glamorgan. Having done this we are confident that the proposed fee will still be competitive and should not have a significant impact on businesses.
“The higher increase will help generate income both to cover the costs of providing the service and to contribute towards other services where fees and charges cannot be increased to a level of full cost recovery.”

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