Chairman's Comments on Pavement License Applications - Post COVID
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Comments on Planning Application by SCAN's Chairman
Government Proposal - Pavement Licensing updated July 2020
RNIB - Working with local authorities to keep pavement dining accessible
Historically – from 2020
Nostrano Lounge, High Street, Staines (Received 04/09/20)
The seating arrangement proposed does not appear to achieve a social distancing of 1.0m between customers and the corridor between the two groups of seats will not allow pedestrians to pass and maintain 1.0m between pedestrians and customers. The layout does not appear to conform with the applicant's own documentation.
The licensing of individual seating areas in the High Street could well lead to a disjointed and tortuous route along the pedestrian area and make the travel for wheelchair users and visually impaired people hazardous. Consideration needs to be given to the location of market stalls and other licensed seating
Revised layout (Received 15/09/20)
Whilst an improvement on the original proposal the seating as shown does not appear to be practical. Insufficient space appears to have been allowed for the seats backing on to 'cafe barriers' and this will inevitably lead to tables being moved by customers in order to get seated. This will reduce the pedestrian zone. It is noted that the seating proposed does not match any of the options in the applicants' own COVID Compliance Book . The existing bin appears to be an obstruction
Response by Council
Measured by Council officer and there is sufficient room for 2m plus walk through as indicated on the plan. The clearance on the main high street between the edge of the barrier and the opposite building is over 15 ½ m which gives more than enough unobstructed footpath for passing pedestrians. Council requires a 2 metre walk way, which the plan does detail.
Harvester, Tilly’s Lane, Staines. (Received 26/03/21)
The seating layout plan does not reflect the actual circumstances likely to apply. The risk assessment refers to a 'second line of barriers' which does not appear to have been shown.
With the scale on the seating plan being unreliable, the stated dimensions indicate a 2.4m width of pavement remaining clear of seating. Once a second line if barriers is installed the residual width will not facilitate pedestrian social distancing and will create an obstruction.
Response by Council
Measurements taken by Council officers. From seating there is 5 metres to the bollards. There is also 3 metres from the edge of the seating to the lamppost.
Wetherspoons, High Street, Staines. (Received 30/03/21)
This is a main thoroughfare for pedestrians entering and leaving the High Street and the eastern end of the proposed area in particular is very narrow. It is essential to establish precise clearances between existing obstructions and the proposed seating.
The accuracy of the Layout Plan is questionable given the way that the dimensions are indicated. The eastern seating is stated at being 4m x 1.5m but in order to accommodate the table with 4 seats will need to be same width as the other two areas (1.8m).
The stated the width of each area is to be 1.8m although it is not clear how this is to be measured. The barriers have bases which are probably 300mm diameter and thus project into the footpath, creating obstructions for wheelchair users, (Socketed posts would be less of an obstruction and trip hazard). It appears that the pinch points will be at the wider point of the eastern seating and the western entry to the area, adjacent to the sign post. Particularly in the eastern end the clear width is inadequate.
I suggest reducing the seating to 2 no 2 seater tables.
The Layout Plan shows two entrances - it would be prudent to create one entrance and one exit. Furthermore the risk assessment states: "• If a queue forms, then furniture to the left hand side of the doors will be removed to accommodate." This is unlikely to be feasible. The queue will have formed as the premises is too busy (has inadequate staff) so nobody is likely to be available to remove seats (and nowhere to put them). The issue would be complicated with two entrances.
The seating layout, in combination with barriers, means customers will have difficulty gaining access to the enclosed tables.
Revised layout (Received 11/04/21)
The revised layout provides improved space for people passing but my earlier observations still apply. In practical terms the space provided for seating is unlikely to be adequate. The overall space provided for the two seater tables is 1.2m wide. After allowing for the barrier (say 100mm) and with the 700mm wide table against the building, only 400mm access is provided. I suggest the end barriers are omitted.
Response by Council.
Council officers measured the area. A new plan required to ensure there is 2 metre width at all times for clearance. Weatherspoons will have to make the space work in the plan that has been drawn up, the tables they have got are quite small. We need to ensure that the table and chairs are barriered in for people who have eye sight problems.
At this time, we do not consider there is an access issue.
Wagamamas, Norris Road, Staines. (Received 31/03/21)
The application has a number of discrepancies and it is not possible to establish what is proposed and how much of a hazard it will constitute to people using the footpath, particularly visually impaired people.
- The pavement licence refers to one area whereas the risk assessment plan shows two (one outlined in red) Is the second area covered under a separate licence application ?
- There are two Notices published, dated 25th March and 26th March. Which one is applicable to the current application?
- Neither of the Notices specifies items to be placed on the highway corresponding with the risk assessment.
- The plan provided does not show the required dimensions to adjacent buildings or street furniture.
Response by Council
As on private land Notice not required. But guidance being sought from SurreyCC.
Turtle Bay, High Street, Staines. (Received 01/04/21)
The licence plan does not show all existing street furniture (the extent of the existing fixed barriers, the 'entrance' to the High street) and incorrectly shows the position of the lamp post to the right).
The licence plan also shows an unmarked feature to the right hand side which I believe to be a freestanding advertising board (shown in photographs). This is not mentioned in the licence and in any event should not be permitted. It constitutes a hazard to visually impaired people and effectively reduces the width available along the footpath to significantly less than 2.0m If found in place it should be removed.
I see the 'Council' is supplying the marquees and they appear to be the type used by the market stall holders. The bases of these could create a trip hazard, particularly in high winds when weights will be added. This needs to be monitored
Response by Council
Please note that a pavement licence is not issue for A boards. I will pass your comments on in respect of ‘A’ boards.
2nd Submission of License Application (Received 19/04/2021)
It is discouraging to see that this second application provides the same misleading information as the earlier application covering this area. As a consequence my comments remain the same:
"The licence plan does not show all existing street furniture (the extent of the existing fixed barriers, the 'entrance' to the High street) and incorrectly shows the position of the lamp post to the right) . The licence plan also shows an unmarked feature to the right hand side which I believe to be a freestanding advertising board (shown in photographs). This is not mentioned in the licence and in any event should not be permitted. It constitutes a hazard to visually impaired people and effectively reduces the width available along the footpath to significantly less than 2.0m If found in place it should be removed.
I see the 'Council' is supplying the marquees and they appear to be the type used by the market stall holders. The bases of these could create a trip hazard, particularly in high winds when weights will be added. This needs to be monitored"
I understand from the previous submission that the pavement licence does not include the A-board. Surrey County Council's Advertising on the Highway guidance requires: 'All advertising boards must not be located within 2.0 metres of any other permanent or temporary sign, pillar, post, item of street furniture, other display or the edge of the carriageway.' Furthermore the SCC document states that "A clear pavement width of 2.0 metres is required (in some cases a minimum clear width of 1.2 metres may be permitted by the local area highways team). In pedestrianised areas2 the minimum clear width is increased to 3.5 metres". The matter of the A-board should immediately be reported by SBC to SCC to bring about its removal.
The acceptance of advertising signs and furniture under a Pavement Licencing needs to be co-ordinated if hazards to visually impaired people and others is to be avoided.
Response by Council
Following 2nd Submission of application
Please can we ask that comments re A-Boards are sent to Surrey Highways if you do not feel they are being compliant as this is not within our remit.
Email to Surrey CC
As Chair of Spelthorne Committee for Access Now, the local access group, I am being consulted by Spelthorne Borough Council on the numerous pavement licensing applications currently being submitted. A number of these submissions show advertising boards although the Council informs me that they do not fall within the scope of the license. I am informed that these advertising signs, generally A - boards, are controlled by Surrey County Council.
I have referred to the SCC publication 'Advertising on the Highway (Version 3 (Accessible) - June 2020) and see that the creation of seating areas along the frontages of cafes and bars etc. results in advertising boards not satisfying that publication. In particular, and almost invariably, the boards would appear not to satisfy condition 'o' : "All boards must be located alongside the edge of the shop/business frontage".
Could I please have clarification that the creation of pavement seating will not result in advertising boards being located outside the seated area. The seating is generally set within barriers which facilitate advertising, satisfying condition 'a' of the SCC publication. The additional seating on the highway is itself a hazard to visually impaired people and any additional hazard in unwelcomed. In any event to satisfy condition 'n' boards should be 2.0m from seating.
Could I please appeal to SCC to work with District Councils at this exceptional time to remove advertising boards where a business has an alternative means of advertising available. Visually impaired people and wheelchair users find life difficult enough without having to negotiate an obstacle course. Staines High Street is a particular hazard, compounded by the Market.
Golden Grill, 33 Staines Road West, (Received 09/04/21)
Although the applicant has followed guidance in producing the layout, it does not show the actual location of the seating area. If the 1m wide area were located against the shopfront I would have no objection in principle subject to the addition of suitable 'barriers' to prevent visually impaired people walking into edge of a table or the back of a chair. The risk assessment provided is not a Covid risk assessment but does refer to one.
Response by Council
Pret a Manger, Norris Road/High Street, Staines. (Received 12/04/21)
The plans included with the submission are incorrect and incomplete:
- Neither plan shows the width of the highway at the relevant points
- Neither plan shows existing street furniture - lamp posts, bollards and bench exist.
- The plans appear to overlap at the corner - i.e. the same table and 2 chairs shown on both plans
- The position of market stalls is not shown.
Starbucks, High St, Staines. (Received 22/4/21)
The pavement licence is incomplete as a correct 'scaled plan ' has not been provided. On the seating plan the area to be used is indicated as 3.42m x 7.03m with an area of 10.45m2. That plan does not show the telephone boxes, tree or market stalls. It appears that the measurement is stated incorrectly with the seating actually appearing to project around 1.5m from the shopfront on the photographs provided.
The barriers will need to be positioned to avoid the outer seating obstructing the thoroughfare and creating trip hazards for visually impaired people in particular. Can the clear width required be achieved?
A corrected distance is required, but in any event, I request the removal of the A-board. This is now superfluous as advertising can be included on the 2 barriers proposed. It is clearly shown on Starbucks' own photographs to be creating an obstruction and not complying with Surrey County Council's requirements. Can this please be brought to the attention of SCC.
Greggs, High Street, Staines (Received 23/4/21)
The application form indicates 6 barriers although the seating plan provided shows only 2 (albeit 3m long). Where are the remainder to be located? The proposal to project over 3.0m is of concern to me and does not take into account the market stalls. I anticipate the area becoming impassable (see attached photo) and a hazard for visually impaired people and wheelchair users.
The area proposed is located around a lamp pole (and a bin) and in practice the access to the applicant's own shopfront will be extremely restricted, with just over 1m from the pole to the furthest seat at the entrance. This precludes social distancing, one of the objectives of this exercise.
I wish it to be noted that Greggs routinely use an A-board at this location and I would be concerned that that would either obstruct their own entrance or could be positioned beyond their seating area, as licenced. This would then fail to observe SCC licencing requirements.
Momo Café, No.1 Clarence Street, Staines (Received 28/04/2021)
The application shows different measurements for the grass and seating, with the grass being wider than the designated seating area. It may be desirable for both measurements to correspond (i.e 1.2m x 4.0m) to ensure clarity. I am concerned that the olive tree appears to partially obstruct the entrance door. It may also be desirable to provide a 'barrier' on the corner of Church Street to avoid visually impaired people turning out of the road and walking into the chairs.
Flamm Restaurant, 13-15 High Street, Staines (Received 29/04/2021)
I do not appear to have been consulted on the first application to which the applicant refers.
This present application contains numerous anomalies:
- How many tables?: 16 on the form/20 on plan
- How many barriers?: 11 on the form & 17 on the plan but some have probably been duplicated.
- What size are the barriers by the single tables? Dimensioned as 2.0m/ noted as 1.5m
- How many umbrellas? 1 shown on the form but 3 are arrowed on the plan.
- How wide is the pavement adjacent to the seat on the corner of the building? I am concerned that these seats may create an obstruction to the footpath
Without confirmation of the above issues I am not able to provide meaningful observations.
Also, I wish to comment on the proximity of the seating to the bollard and the lowered kerb into the drive between buildings. The barrier to the pair of seats by the bay reduces an already narrow space and it will be necessary to omit this barrier to optimise the width. I do not feel that will create a hazard to visually impaired people. The lowered kerb must not be obstructed as that would impede wheelchair users.
Mexican Rico Ltd 137 Vicarage Road TW16 (Received 30/04/2021)
The applicant submitted photos of a car completely parked on (and obstructing!!!) the footpath. Parking may influence matters.