Monday, 22 October 2018

Seating licence fees set to increase again

THE cost of licences for businesses which use outdoor seating in Henley is set to go up.

The town council currently make about £25,000 a year from licences for seating in the town centre and at Red Lion Lawn thanks to businesses including Starbucks, Patisserie Valerie and the Red Lion Hotel.

It is proposing to increase the fees in line with inflation, which is currently 2.7 per cent, from April 2019. The last rise of five per cent was in April this year.

Some councillors are worried about the effect on businesses of another rise. Speaking at a meeting of the council’s town and community committee, Councillor David Eggleton said: “They do get disrupted quite a lot when we put events on so we’ve got to take that into account. Some of them don’t think they’re getting value for money.”

Town manager Helen Barnett said: “We do disrupt the seating licences on a regular basis when we have events and ask them not to put seating out.”

But Councillor Sam Evans said the charges were reasonable and events brought in business.

She said: “Our rates have always reflected what they get. They do quite well out of these so-called disturbances because we are bringing people to the town square. They might not have seating outside but they get trade out of it.”

The full council will make the final decision.

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