As a commercial property solicitor, it is unfortunately in my nature to spot potential hazards for property owners and tenants around every corner, whether ‘on duty’ or not. Walking through the centre of Edinburgh this week, you can’t help but notice the scores of people enjoying a large glass of rose or beer in the long awaited sunshine.
After the initial thought of ‘I wish I were you’, the next thing which popped into my mind was whether the establishments in question, having whisked tables and chairs onto the pavements to take advantage of the brief window of opportunity presented by the sun, had the forethought to get the permits they need to do so.
The hostelries in question may find that their liquor licence does not extend to the outside areas, in which case they would be committing an offence for every drink consumed there and run the risk of hefty fines and other consequences - ultimately including the loss of their licence.
They would therefore be best advised to check the terms of their licence before investing in their outdoor furniture.
In addition, even before tables can be put onto the public pavements, a permit must be applied for. These are commonly known as ‘Tables and Chairs Permits’ but are actually Road Occupancy Permits under the 1984 Roads (Scotland) Act and are to obtained from the local Roads Authority. Each Authority has their own means of applying for such a licence (many will allow you to do this online) and their own scope of fees - for example, Edinburgh City Council currently charges up to £87 per square meter in the city centre for a 12 month permit and this only allows use between 9am and 9pm. You need to pay an additional £150 to extend this to 10pm. These sums could easily add up and may account in some part for the high prices of cocktails on George Street...
If you intend to operate an outdoor area for food and drink, take heed and feel free to contact me for advice.
Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the sun while it lasts!