Night-time businesses invited to extend opening hours as summer approaches

Night-time business in Bristol are being offered the opportunity to extend the opening hours of their temporary outdoor seating spaces in time for the busy summer period.

The mayor of the city has written to businesses and those who represent the bar and pub trade in the city to extend the offer following discussions with the sector and the council’s Licensing and Highways teams.

Mayor Marvin Rees said: “Bristol’s night-time economy represents a third of the city’s workforce and is a key priority for my administration.

“It’s disappointing that, after the pandemic, national government decided not extend the legislation that had provided greater flexibility in this area. This has resulted in the position we now find ourselves in, with some outdoor licences returning to the previous position of 11pm.

“There are clear benefits to extending them beyond that time where it is appropriate to do so and, of course, striking a balance with local residents.

“My office is working with Carly Heath, the council’s Night Time Economy Advisor; officers; and traders to explore the options that are available. I’m encouraged that a positive conclusion can be found.”

During the pandemic, a national, temporary measure was introduced to the Business and Planning Act 2020 and Licensing Act 2003 allowing all premises previously restricted to the sales of alcohol for consumption on the premises  to supply alcohol for consumption off the premises.

Some businesses used this national, temporary provision to place tables and chairs on the pavement outside of their premises to continue to operate under the rules. These rules, set by government, allowed tables and chairs to be in place until 11pm and are due to run until September 2023.

Following a call by local businesses to consider extending the use of these temporary tables and chairs to match the opening hours of the premises, the mayor, along Carly Heath, asked officers to explore alternative options.

Those businesses who qualify for the proposed time extensions will now be able to ask for an amendment to their license or be given the option to apply for changes to their licensing conditions. Each premises will be considered individually based on its circumstances.