Road closure paves the way for alfresco dining experience
A key road in Birmingham will be closed on weekends from Saturday 15 August to create an alfresco eating and drinking area designed to help businesses recover from COVID-19.
Southside BID and Birmingham City Council have worked in partnership to instigate the closure of Hurst Street and allow businesses to use the space for additional tables and chairs.
The project will see the road closed from midday on Saturdays until midnight on Sunday for six consecutive weekends from 15 and 16 August until the weekend of 19 and 20 September inclusive.
The road closure will enable businesses in the hospitality industry, including bars, restaurants and cafes, to use the public highway for additional seating to increase the number of customers whilst still adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Julia Robinson, Southside BID manager said:
“Southside is home to some of the city’s most vibrant hospitality venues, the majority of which are independent businesses, and they have been hit hard by the economic impact of Covid-19. Even after lockdown, social distancing measures mean that many are only operating at 10 - 20% capacity, and struggling to survive.
"We have worked hard on behalf of our businesses to achieve the temporary pedestrianisation of Hurst Street for al fresco eating and drinking, to provide them with extra capacity for their customers, give them a much-needed boost to save jobs and go some way towards supporting their future survival.”
Businesses who would like to utilise the space will still need to apply for a Temporary Pavement Licence through the new fast-track application system.
The licences, which can be granted for up to 12 months until September 2021, are now determined within 14 days, rather than being subject to the previous 28-day consultation period. The cost is also capped at £100 for all table numbers whereas previously Birmingham City Council charged £856 for up to five tables or £1,255 for five tables or more.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
"We know how tough recent months have been for the hospitality sector and this dedicated alfresco dining experience is a great opportunity for businesses in Hurst Street to show that Birmingham is back.
"We are delighted to have been able to work in partnership with Southside BID to deliver this scheme and we'll continue to work with our partners to help Birmingham recover from the impact of Covid-19."