MOVES to boost Blackpool’s burgeoning continental-style cafe culture have been welcomed.
The council has slashed the cost of outdoor street licences in a bid to help businesses.
But town hall chiefs have warned they expect standards of al fresco dining areas to remain high.
There was outcry when revised licences were introduced in 2010 with cafe and restaurant owners accusing the council of making the cost too high.
Now licensing bosses have reduced the annual fees from £25 per square metre with an upper limit of £1,000, to £15 per square metre with an upper limit of £750.
It comes after smoking restrictions were also lifted from outdoor seating areas.
Simon Wrigley, owner of No 5 restaurant on Cedar Square and the Coffee Pot on Birley Street, said; “We met with Coun Simon Blackburn and he promised to look at this issue for us so we are pleased he has done so, and the licence fees have come down.
“The new charges are a lot fairer. When the new licences were introduced, owners had to meet the cost of the barriers and the street cafe licences at the same time.
“In these difficult times, cafe owners certainly welcome this reduction.”
Town centre manager Eileen Ormand said: “Reducing the cost of these licences is a positive move.
“I have spoken to a lot of people who say it will make a difference to them.
“It has been a really emotive subject. It will make cafe owners extending their outdoor areas and enliven the town centre even more.”