Green party vice-chair welcomes proposal for better access around pavement cafés 

Martina Weitsch Vice Chair of York Green Party

A report going to York’s Executive this Tuesday, following consultation on pavement café licences, is recommending new local guidance to improve disability access.

The new guidance for fast track pavement café licenses will require there to be 1.5m of space on the pavement for wheelchair users, mobility scooters and other pedestrians to pass in order for a license to be approved. The guidance also includes additional requirements about the design and setting out of the outdoor cafes to assist blind and partially sighted residents and visitors.

Green Party vice-chair Martina Weitsch says “Greens on the council’s Executive have been pressing for a  policy that takes a clear consistent approach and that, whilst acknowledging the needs of local businesses, puts disability access first. I very much welcome that we now have this proposed guidance. I believe it will be an important step forwards in improving disability access around our city centre.

“Pavement cafés have been a lifeline for many small businesses during covid, but they have also presented new obstacles on pavements and have made getting around significantly more difficult for some people. 

“This will be challenging for some businesses but I welcome the fact they will still have the option to apply for planning permission which will be decided on a case by case basis as was the situation pre-Covid.”

The proposals coming to the Executive will be considered by the whole council in December before the new policies are applied in York from Jan 2023. 

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