Government extends al fresco planning exemptions

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Government extends al fresco planning exemptions

Related tags: Al fresco, Restaurant, Pub, Planning permission

The Government is to extend planning exemptions designed to make it easier for hospitality businesses to set up al fresco dining areas by another year.

Ahead of the planned reopening of outdoor hospitality settings on 12 April, Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has written to every council leader in the country, urging them to give restaurant and pub owners a break after a year of enforced closures.

He told them that planning rules for al fresco dining and temporary shelters must be waived unless there are exceptional circumstances.

And in a further boost for the industry, he has extended the concession until the end of September 2022.

Writing in The Sun on Sunday​, Jenrick said: "I'm determined that we don't let red tape get in the way of a great British summer.

"The planning changes we put in place last year have been a lifeline to many businesses and they're here to stay for the summer of 2021."

He added: "We will be extending pavement licences for a further 12 months, making it easier and cheaper for pubs, restaurants and cafes to continue to make al fresco dining a reality with outside seating, tables and street stalls to serve food and drinks.

"I've told council leaders that we expect them to grant these licences very swiftly - with no need for businesses to re-apply or charge another fee.

"If the council don't get back to you, there's a presumption it's okay to proceed."

Jenrick also discussed the future of measures put in place at the onset of the pandemic last year that allow restaurants and pubs to operate as hot food takeaways without the need for a new licence​.

The relaxed regulations have already been extended until at least March 23 2022​, and the Minister has said he is keen to make the concession permanent.

He said: "This simple freedom, that I introduced a year ago as lockdown began has proved a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of businesses.

"It’s hard to imagine it wasn’t available to start with. I’m ensuring it will continue to apply until at least March 2022 and I’m keen to make it permanent."

Related topics: Legislation

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