'Not appropriate': U-turn on 600% pavement permit increase for Shropshire businesses
Controversial plans to increase the cost of a pavement permit by more than 600 per cent have been axed, after Shropshire Council bosses admitted it was “not appropriate” given high street struggles.
The authority had brought in measures to increase the cost of the license, which enables traders to use the pavement outside their business, from £50 to £311. New applicants would have had to pay £413.
But now Councillor Gwilym Butler, cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, has issued a climb-down over the move, saying a full consultation will be held in future.
Traders in towns across the county had hit out at the move, with some saying it would have an impact on costs passed on to customers.
But now Councillor Butler said he has recognised the impact it would have on business and the rise has been deferred pending full consultation.
He said: “The fees associated with a pavement permit had this year increased.
“However, the council now recognises that such an increase at this time is not appropriate given the current pressures on our high street businesses and it has been decided to defer any rise in the pavement permit fees at this time until a further review with wider consultation has been undertaken.”
Oswestry Town Council member Mike Coppock, had called the move “outrageous.”
He said: “It is an increase of over 600 per cent. How can Shropshire Council possibly justify this?
“At a time when small independent shops are struggling, and the government is trying to find ways to help, Shropshire Council decides to slap a big tax on small retail businesses across the county.
“It affects every cafe and shop in town that has anything at the front on the pavement.
“There has been no warning, and on making some enquiries with other shops and cafes in town, they are unaware of this if their renewal date has not yet come around. Outrageous.”