OWNERS of pubs, bars and cafes in Burton which offer outside seating could be forced to pay for a licence - or be forced to keep all customers indoors.
East Staffordshire Borough Council is also seeking to get tough on shops which prop up advertising boards in the town centre following a number of complaints from shoppers.
Store owners will be forced to meet a number of conditions if advertising boards are to remain outside their premises.
The council believes some boards present a hazard to people with disabilities, while also making the town centre look unattractive, but added it was ‘keen to strike a balance between the competing needs of businesses, residents and visitors to the borough’.
The authority is also proposing to make establishments apply for a licence to continue to allow customers to sit outside, with any that do not comply or fail to meet expected standards set to lose the privilege.
Irvin Linstead, landlord at the Old Royal Oak, in Market Place, which allows customers to sit outside, was unimpressed with the idea, which he branded ‘ridiculous’.
He told the Mail: “It’s the council yet again trying to burrow into our pockets by charging for licences. All over Europe you find roadside cafes which make the place attractive and let people enjoy outside. Providing they are not tacky I don’t see the problem.”
The borough council conceded there would be a cost to business owners but said the proposal would mean seating areas would be formally regulated.