Under changes to planning regulations, which will be implemented on 30 May, rules will be liberalised to allow new restaurants, cafés and selected other businesses to open for up to two years in buildings designated as A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, D1 or D2 classes.
This list includes shops, banks, offices and non-residential institutions.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “People looking for premises to test new business ideas and other pop-up ventures will find it easier to identify sites and open quickly.”
He added: “Our changes will also support business start-up and expansion, the rural economy and the future of our high streets.
"Existing redundant agricultural buildings of 500m2 or less will be able to change to a range of new business uses, to boost the rural economy whilst protecting the open countryside from development.”
A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities and Local Government confirmed that restaurants and cafés would be included among those that can take advantage of the measure. She said that for buildings between 150m2 and 500m2, prior approval is required to ensure the changes don’t lead to unacceptable increases in noise, transport or other problems.
In his foreword to the announcement, Pickles said: “The Coalition Government believe that a swift and responsive planning system is vital for delivering sustainable development. We want to promote the use of brownfield land to assist regeneration, and get empty and under-used buildings back into productive use.
“Using such previously developed land and buildings will help us promote economic growth and still ensure that we safeguard environmentally protected land.”
The changes will be implemented under secondary legislation that amends the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order) 1995.