A pavement license will allow some businesses to place removable furniture over parts of the pavement next to their premises to serve food and drink, after the Government passed new legislation to speed up the process.
Unlike some local authorities, the council has decided not to charge an application fee for pavement licences to help support businesses coming out of lockdown.
The new fast track system is fully digital with all applications and any representations having to be made online via www.northumberland.gov.uk/pavement
With the new legislation, all applicants have to display a public notice outside their premises advising the public and neighbouring properties they have applied for a pavement licence and how to find out more information or make representations about the application.
It’s important applicants must make sure their proposals consider the safety and access needs of others, particularly wheelchair users, young parents with pushchairs and those with low vision.
Anyone wishing to make representations to the Council about the application will have only seven days to do so, and once the seven day consultation period ends the Council only has a further seven days to either approve or reject the application.
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet member for Environment and Local Services, said: "We want to do everything we can to reinvigorate our high streets and support local businesses after an extremely difficult few months.
"Due to the need for social distancing measures we know it will be difficult for many pubs, restaurants and cafes to find enough space indoors to allow them to operate safely so a pavement license might be an option for some businesses.
“We are pleased to announce there will be no charge for the application and the licence will run for up to 12 months or until 30th September 2021, whichever is the soonest.
“However applicants must remember that the impact on other pavement users will be a key consideration for the Council when it’s considering applications.”
The measures are part of the council's efforts to make the county’s town and shopping centres more user friendly for shoppers, allowing social distancing to be maintained and businesses to reopen safely.