THE streets of Southend will mimic plazas in Venice as lockdown is eased with pubs and restaurants given the green light to set up tables on pavements.

Southend Council has confirmed that every hospitality venue will be able to set up tables and chairs on public walkways without applying to the council.

From April 12 restaurants and pubs will be able to serve food and drink outside with the scheme set to create an al fresco revolution in Southend.

It follows pubs being given permission by the government to erect marquees in gardens without the need for planning permission.

Businesses have welcomed the move and are already putting plans in place, with the Shoebury Hotel, in High Street, Shoebury, creating space for 70 people socially distanced outside.


A hotel spokesman said: “We have secured the parking spaces out the front of the hotel for our new al fresco dining terrace.

“We will have space for 70 guests to be seated outside for eating and drinking.

“This will be used in accordance with Covid guidelines, tables will be used with a maximum of six people and will be placed two metres apart.

“We are doing our very best to open on April 12, subject to delivery of our new picnic benches arriving on time.”

John Budge, from Shoebury, believes when the sun is out Southend can be one of the top tourist hotspots in the UK.

The 77-year-old, who is a leading member of Shoebury Residents’ Association, said: “I think this is a great idea, as long as the health and safety requirements are met.

“There’s lots of restaurants who would benefit from this.

“I would feel safer sitting on these pavement extensions than being inside the pub itself.

“It would really add to the atmosphere of the pubs and restaurants.”

The move follows Southend receiving £228,000 in Government funding to help re-open the town post lockdown.

Suzanne Gloyne, manager of Southend Business Improvement District, added: “This is a really great idea, and one that is vital for businesses moving out of lockdown.

“It’s free as well, which will help the hospitality venues hugely.

“Lots of places don’t have gardens or terraces to use, so this will really help them.”

Business will be able to use pavements until May 16, but will need to apply to the council for a licence if they want to continue afterwards.

Carl Robinson, director of public protection, said: “We will be waiving the need for a pavement license application during this period on the condition that that the area in question complies with the terms and conditions of our pavement licensing policy and Covid-19 regulations.”

At least 1.5m of space must be left on pavements for wheelchair users.

Pavements cannot be used after 10pm.