Seafront near Colonnade

Traders on Bexhill promenade to be given council support

Businesses along Bexhill seafront will be given extra support over the summer to help them recover from the impact of Covid-19.

Food and drink outlets will be allowed to extend their tables and chairs further onto the Promenade until October 31, this year.

And they won’t have to pay rent or licence fees for the period from April to September, in a move that will cost Rother District Council £27,700.

Council leader Doug Oliver said it made sense to support traders to make life easier for visitors coming to the town.

“It’s been wonderful to see all the coffee shops along the seafront doing very well in this wonderful weather that we’ve been having,” he said. “The place is looking very vibrant.”

However, Councillor Terry Byrne pointed out that the Colonnade restaurant would benefit to a more significant degree than smaller businesses.

“We are granting rent relief, essentially, to a very large restaurant which wasn’t really part of the seafront offering,” he said. “We are being very generous, I feel, to the Colonnade.”

The lockdown coincided with the start of the important spring season, according to a report by Ben Hook, the council’s head of acquisitions, transformation and regeneration.

“Many businesses that rely on this period leading into the summer seasons’ trade have seen a significant drop in earnings as a result of being unable to trade or severely restricted in their trading activity,” it stated. “These include the Council’s own tenants on Bexhill Seafront.”

As a result, tenants have told officers that their businesses are at risk.

“Whilst some seafront tenants are able to trade successfully when the weather is good, their ability to survive the lockdown in the long term will depend on their ability to sufficiently recover lost income to survive the forthcoming winter season,” added the report.

The food and drink premises on the seafront include the Colonnade Restaurant; Sovereign Life Cafe, West Parade; The Kiosk, West Parade; Kiosks 3 and 3 at the Colonnade; and the Bathing Station Kiosk, East Parade.

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