The licence for Belsize Village’s ‘streatery’ has been extended until September 27.
Camden Council granted the extension on Thursday (July 30) to allow the outdoor dining area in Belsize Terrace to continue for the rest of the summer.
Earlier on Thursday, the housing secretary Robert Jenrick visited the streatery where he spoke with volunteers and met local businesses involved in the alfresco project, including Calici and Charro De Rio.
The government minister also posed for photos while eating a bagel from Roni’s with Camden Conservatives’ leader Cllr Oliver Cooper (Hampstead Town).
Mr Jenrick told the Ham&High the streatery was “everything he had hoped for” to help cafes and restaurants struggling through the pandemic.
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He said: “It enables businesses to reopen safely, people to come out and enjoy the summer, and it’s great for people’s mental health.
“We’ve met a lot of people here today who’ve used this as a way of reconnecting family and friends, and getting out of the house after a long period inside, self-isolating in some cases.
“We would like to see this replicated in as many parts of the country as possible.”
Mr Jenrick said new planning policy for outdoor licences was “long overdue” and that London was “all the better” for it.
Concerns have been raised by Belsize residents over the short period of public consultation before the streatery’s implementation, and whether public funds could have been better spent elsewhere.
One resident aired these worries to Mr Jenrick, including her claims that the outdoor chairs weren’t being cleaned.
But Cllr Steve Adams (Con, Belsize) said, for the first time the number of emails in his inbox supporting the streatery outweighed complaints over rubbish collection.
Cllr Adams told this newspaper: “A lot of people have said this is such a nice thing, please don’t let go of it.
“It may well turn out to be a silver lining to the dark cloud of Covid-19.
“The community has actually stepped up and in general terms this is a good thing.”
Belsize Village Business Association’s co-coordinator, Robert Stephenson-Padron, said the streatery had “revitalised” the neighbourhood and that he welcomed the extension of its licence.