PLANS to scrap charges for displays and street furniture outside shops in Monmouthshire could be finalised next week.

Under proposals set to before Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet on Wednesday, all charges for displays, tables, and chairs will be withdrawn.

If approved, the only charge traders could face is if they fail to comply with the permit scheme, with permit applications becoming free of charge.

Businesses will also be allowed to occupy an area greater than the currently approved 18 square metres.

The controversial policy has taken different forms since first being introduced in 2016 and has been suspended twice by the council following backlash from traders and councillors.

Monmouthshire County Council had hoped the scheme would generate enough money to pay for the scheme, while improving health and safety.

An annual £50 fee was initially charged to those using A-boards to advertise their businesses, but this was suspended in February 2017, and later scrapped altogether earlier this year.

During the same cabinet meeting in January, members agreed to halve charges for displays and street furniture.

Businesses were previously asked to pay a one-off charge of £125, with an annual payment of between £120 and £360 depending on the size of the shopfront in square metres.

But traders, particularly those from Monmouth and Abergavenny, called for the charges to be scrapped altogether.

Concerns were raised at public meetings in both towns before the council’s deputy leader, Bob Greenland, announced on July 23 that the council would suspend and consider the withdrawal of the policy.

Cllr Greenland said: “Whilst the charges were only intended to cover the costs of managing the policy, cabinet accepted the view that in these very difficult times for our town centres, even these modest charges might be the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The announcement came a week before the council’s strong communities select committee was due to discuss the policy with traders.

The committee’s recommendations to completely withdraw the scheme form the proposals that will be discussed by cabinet members on Wednesday, September 5.