HARBOURSIDE traders in Weymouth have been ordered to pack away their outside seating at the end of the summer - a move they fear will have a severe impact on their businesses.

Businesses on Trinity Road; Nana Moon's Café and Bar, the King Arms pub and Bennetts fish and chips, have been told their temporary licence to have outdoor seating will not be renewed, so benches must be removed by September 30.

Dorset Echo: Outdoor seating on Trinity Road. Picture: Cristiano Magaglio

The temporary licences were granted by Dorset Council under government regulations during the pandemic to support businesses when social distancing was in force.

The Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill which is tabled in Parliament extends local authorities permission to grant temporary licences for another year until 2023, but Dorset Council have chosen not to offer it for these traders on Trinity Road.

This contrasts with the other side of the harbour where a package of public realm improvements by the council has supported hospitality businesses on Custom House Quay.

Dorset Echo: Outdoor seating on Trinity Road. Picture: Cristiano MagaglioOutdoor seating on Trinity Road. Picture: Cristiano Magaglio

The trio of businesses affected on Trinity Road say removing the seating will be a sore blow, and have started a petition in a bid to appeal the decision.

Michelle Ludlow, the owner of Nana Moon Café and Bar said: "I don't think we will be here next year without the outdoor seating. Everyone wants to sit outside, they expect it now, and it really is lovely out there.

"We opened six months before the pandemic and had to fight hard to stay open, the outside seating was a big helping factor, and now more than 70 per cent of our business takes place on the benches outside.

Sharron Phillip-Day the general manager of the Kings Arms, said: "This really affects us, who wants to sit indoors on a nice sunny day?

"Since Brewers Quay closed, business over this side of the harbour died, but the outdoor seating really helped bring things back.

"We support the Custom House Quay businesses on the other side having their outdoor seating completely, we just want to be treated fairly."

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said: “The licences provided to businesses along Trinity Road were only ever a temporary measure, allowing them to continue to trade during the pandemic while social distancing rules were in place, and to aid financial recovery once social distancing restrictions were lifted on 1 April 2022.

"We’re now asking businesses to remove their temporary outdoor seating by 30 September 2022, as was made clear at the start but which allows them to still profit from the summer trade.

"The legislation around sitting out licences is being decided by Government as part of the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which was announced in the Queen's Speech on 10 May. Once the parliamentary process is complete, we will be able to engage with all businesses on their future needs."