Published: December 23rd, 2021
New rules which will allow hospitality businesses to erect marquees without planning permission – allowing them to trade outside if indoor mixing is restricted – have been announced by the Government.
The changes to planning regulations also mean that outdoor markets can be held more often to help traders through the pandemic.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says the changes to permitted development rights, first introduced last year as a temporary measure to boost high streets and small businesses during national restrictions, are being made permanent following a public consultation.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants will now be able to install gazebos on their own land without planning permission, helping them to better make use of their outside space all year round. Councils will also be able to hold street markets as required without the need for a planning application, attracting more people to high streets and town centres and boosting local businesses.
Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “The changes we introduced last year supported our town centres and high streets during national restrictions, making sure businesses could stay open and helping to instil a sense of community in our local areas.
“Making these measures permanent will help business and communities to build back better from the pandemic and are just one part of our vision to transform towns and cities across England into thriving places to work, visit and live.”
Craig Beaumont, Chief of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, welcomed the announcement.
“Today’s announcement is a positive, sensible deregulatory measure. It permanently removes barriers for small businesses to do things that we all love in our local areas, and so small firms will be pleased to see this.
“As we look to keep going through the Omicron wave, this will be something that supports the Spring economic recovery, giving a boost to firms on the high street, in retail, in pubs and restaurants, in markets, in small-scale events and in the weddings industry that have all been affected so deeply by COVID.”
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said that marquees and other structures provided a lifeline for some businesses during the pandemic.
“Today’s announcement is a really positive move to rid businesses of an administrative burden and encouraging better use of outdoor space – for many venues it will expedite future recovery and growth.”
Historic visitor attractions and hospitality businesses operating in listed buildings will be able to install a gazebo for 120 days in a 12-month period. This will provide additional flexibility while minimising the impacts to heritage sites.
The permitted development right allowing councils and health services to adapt their facilities more easily is being extended for a further year (until 31 December 2022). The right will continue to support the response to the pandemic, including enabling pop-up vaccination centres to support the government’s booster drive.