Deputy Andrew Taylor, Vice-President of the Development & Planning Authority, has claimed he did not renew a licence for al fresco seating outside his Market Street coffee shop due to what he claimed was "an oversight on my part”.
In the States meeting last Thursday, Deputy Taylor declared an interest before the vote on the al fresco policy letter concerning Taylor’s Coffee Shop, which falls inside the proposed zones for al fresco spaces.
The Bailiff questioned why this was necessary: “It probably already has an al fresco licence, doesn’t it?”
“It does not, Sir,” replied Deputy Taylor. The Bailiff then said to a nearby colleague: “I thought he had tables outside?”
Speaking to Express, Deputy Taylor confirmed that the café “previously held an al-fresco licence for the seating outside. "We’ve been through the whole process with all the extensive investigations and two visits to the Courts with legal bills approaching £10,000," he said.
He said the licence expired at the end of 2020, and renewals are required at the end of each year. “No reminders or invoices are sent, and it simply slipped my mind amongst various other concerns such as covid, staffing, and year-end accounts," he said.
“It strikes me as odd that invoices aren’t sent out as the ‘renewal’ fee is a hefty administrative charge to change the year on a piece of paper."
Pictured: The States' Assembly voted to simplify the al fresco application process during last week's meeting.
“Late payments aren’t accepted, and if a payment is missed the whole process must be started again. With only a limited time left on my lease and uncertainty about trade generally I have not looked to make a new application,” continued Deputy Taylor.
When asked if he would now need to remove the tables and chairs, Deputy Taylor claimed he has not been contacted about them.
“Given it’s been demonstrated as ‘safe’ through two rounds of prior consultation I can’t personally see a problem – but I accept it’s not currently licensed,” he said.
He also said he does not believe this is an example of the restrictiveness of the previous al fresco laws. "I fully accept it was my failure to adhere to the renewal terms," he said.
“I do understand the need for some kind of regulation, but the previous system has some pretty large flaws – particularly the inflexibility surrounding renewals."
Deputy Taylor said he is unsure if he will expand the seating area once the new laws come into effect. “It will depend how quickly it’s all put in place," he said.
Deputy Taylor abstained from the vote.
Pictured (top): Deputy Andrew Taylor (right), and Taylor's Coffee Shop, Market Square.
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