Pubs and restaurants that have been allowed to put tables out on the street have been criticised by a Marlow resident – who fears the move hampers social distancing rules.

Marlovian Bob Savidge said eateries spilling out onto the pavement makes it difficult for shoppers to keep to the two-metre social distancing rule, and singled out The Chequers in Marlow High Street as an example.

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With Covid making it difficult for restaurants and bars to continue serving customers in the usual way, many have been allowed outdoor tables and seating so those visiting are not cramped together, including the popular town centre pub.

But Mr Savidge is not a fan of the move, even though all the necessary permissions have been given.

He said: “Has Marlow Town Council and Bucks Unitary Authority really allowed this nonsense?

“They have reduced the pavement to one metre, hence no chance of passing within social distancing rules of two metres.

“The road at this point is designated as a loading/unloading bay creating a barrier and more movement of delivery staff and trolleys on the same restricted path.

“Now we have alcohol dispensed on the pavement.

“Do the council really represent the people of Marlow and our visitors or just the traders?

“Have the licencing laws been changed and has the Chequers license been extended? How much is this costing the taxpayer? What next!”

However, Mr Savidge’s claims were refuted by both Buckinghamshire Council (BC) and The Chequers staff, who said although they are allowed to put out four tables, they decided on three instead.

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Following the complaint, BC responded by stating: “Just to confirm that the Chequers has a pavement licence, under the temporary legislative changes introduced by the Business & Planning Act 2020 (in July this year) which enabled hospitality businesses to apply to the council for a pavement licence to provide tables and chairs in the street.”

Ross Phillips, the restaurant’s general manager, added: “I want to make sure that we do everything in the proper way.

“We only have put three of the four tables out that we have permission for.

“We just doing what we’re allowed to do under this new provision, which was introduced in June, to make sure that businesses like mine get through this period and we are complying with all the legislation requirements.

“The licensing officers are happy, and we actually applied for something different.

“We initially wanted to put our tables on the outside edges of the pavement which is a wider section of payment, but, as the legislation says, pedestrians are not allowed to pass through tables and this would mean there would have been a path through the tables on either side.

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“So, the council suggested we did something else and that is what we did.”

Following the ease of lockdown restrictions in the summer, bars, pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen under new and strict guidelines in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

But due to a rapid increase of cases during the autumn months, more restrictions have been put in place, meaning pubs, bars and restaurants have been forced to close at 10pm.