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Coronavirus: Planning rules in England to be relaxed for pubs and restaurants

The government advice to the public not to visit pubs and restaurants has hit the leisure industry hard. However, today’s announcement that pubs and restaurants in England will be allowed to start offering hot takeaways will provide them with an income stream, as well as supporting communities, at this difficult time. 

What is the current position?

Currently if a pub or restaurant wants to start offering hot food takeaways, it needs to apply for a change of use. This is because there are separate Use Classes in England for the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises (A3) and the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises (A5). 
Equivalent changes are not required in Wales, as Use Class A3 covers the consumption of hot food and drink on and off the premises. Therefore, businesses in  Wales can already operate as takeaways, subject to there being no conditions attached to any planning permission that prevents it.

What is changing?

The government has announced that a time limited permitted development right (PD Right) will be introduced, allowing pubs and restaurants in England to offer takeaways of hot food and drinks. The takeaway of alcoholic drinks will not be included, and will be subject to existing licensing laws. PD Rights, in effect, allow specified types of development without the need to obtain planning permission.

When will the changes come in?

The government has said that they will be introduced ‘as soon as possible’. We will be monitoring and reporting on developments.

How long will the PD Rights last?

We don’t yet have the detail, but it will be for a maximum of twelve months.

What will pubs and restaurants need to do?

Although no application for planning permission will be required, anyone wishing to take advantage of the PD Right will have to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends.

TLT has extensive experience in planning matters. If you would like to discuss your requirements, please get in touch.

Contributor: Alexandra Holsgrove Jones

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at March 2020. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

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