Westminster allows pavement dining
Thursday 3rd July 2003 12:14
Westminster council has abolished the curfew on alfresco dining around London's Leicester Square in a pilot scheme that may be extended to other parts of the borough if successful.
From July to 30 November, restaurants and caf‚s in the square will be able to put tables and chairs outside until 1am in the morning. The current time limit is 11pm.
Restaurants will have to clearly mark out the alfresco area and serve alcohol only with food orders. To date, 17 of the 38 eligible restaurants and cafés have applied for the extended licence.
A council spokeswoman said the licence extension created city-management issues in terms of noise, increased crime and street cleaning.
Nevertheless, the council is keen to encourage people to "hang out, and enjoy Leicester Square" rather than just use it as a footpath - an estimated 250,000 pass through it every Friday and Saturday night. Outside dining, which is popular with the public, is one way to achieve this.