OWNERS of pubs, restaurant and cafes can apply for pavement licences to help survive the impact of coronavirus by using a fast-track process.

It will help support businesses selling food and drink to boost trade by providing extra seating on the pavement outside their premises.

The aim is to enable businesses to maximise capacity while following social distancing guidelines.

The temporary fast-track process is allowed by new laws introduced by the Government.

Now businesses in Wirral will be able to obtain permission, in the form of a "pavement licence", from the council to place furniture such as tables and chairs on the pavement near their premises.

The process for businesses to obtain similar licences prior to the Business and Planning Act 2020 coming into force could be costly and time-consuming, but now businesses could have their licence, if approved, within two weeks.

This includes one week for consultation - the council must publish the application online – and another week for the authority to make a decision.

The pavement licence application fee is £100, and if approved the licences must be granted for a minimum period of three months and may be granted up until 30 September 2021.

Wirral's Labour Group leader and cabinet member for finance and resources, Cllr Janette Williamson, said: "Supporting Wirral businesses in this difficult and challenging time is incredibly important to this authority and this is the latest in a range of things we have put in place to help.

"Putting in place this measure will mean businesses can accommodate more customers as we emerge from lockdown but continue to be cautious of not allowing COVID-19 infections to rise."

For details on how to apply go to https://www.wirral.gov.uk/licences-and-permits/road-and-pavement-licences/pavement-licences/pavement-licences