THE STREETS of Brighton and Hove could be marked with anti-slip tape by council officers to ensure shops and cafés do not clutter the way for pedestrians.

Brighton and Hove City Council is proposing a new initiative to keep pavements clear for pedestrians by marking out areas around restaurants and cafés to ensure that tables and chairs remain in the permitted site.

The council hopes the scheme, which will also restrict outdoor shop displays and advertising boards, will improve safety for pedestrians especially for buggy and wheelchair users and the visually impaired.

But tourism leaders have described the new proposals as “ugly, over the top and unnecessary”.

Under the council’s licensing conditions, shop and café owners must maintain a minimum pavement width around tables, chairs and a-boards of 1.3 metres.

Businesses can pay up to £325 for the privilege of outside chairs and tables and £100 for A-boards. Almost £130,000 was raised from issuing 440 licences for A-boards and 280 licences for tables and chairs in 2014/15.

The tape will be semi-permanent and should last between nine months and a year before being replaced.

Officers said the council would be unlikely to follow the lead of other authorities in an outright ban of pavement obstructions because of the loss of the revenue from licence fees, the harmful effect on firms and potential harm to the “vibrant street scene”.

Under EU regulations, fees must be set to cover only the cost of administration and not be used as a revenue stream or to discourage applications.

The report said the marking out has been delayed due to sickness in the small highway enforcement team.

The council has received more than 3,000 reports of obstructions on the public highway so far in 2014/15.

Nick Head, owner of the Ambassador Hotel in New Steine, said: “It sounds a bit ugly, a bit over the top and a bit unnecessary.

“There are more important things that they could spend money on to make the environment a bit nicer.

“It is surely not beyond the wit of enforcement officers to walk around and enforce the licences.”

Councillor Stephanie Powell, chairwoman of the licensing committee, said: “Advertising boards, shop displays and outdoor seating are important marketing tools for businesses and add to the vibrant street scene in Brighton and Hove.

“However, the safety of pedestrians is our upmost priority and we must do everything we can to ensure pavements are kept free from clutter particularly for those with young children or who are sight or mobility impaired.”

The proposal will be debated at the council’s licensing committee on Thursday.