Councils Told Not To Charge Pubs For Outdoor Seating Ahead Of April 12 Reopening
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Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that he has asked local councils not to crack down on pubs and restaurants that serve food and drink outdoors once they reopen in an attempt to ease pressure on the ailing hospitality sector.
Jenrick has written to local authorities to ask that they not charge venues that choose to put seating outside and erect marquees in beer gardens as the industry plans to reopen around April 12.
Already, some businesses have been hit with charges running into hundreds of pounds because of planning permission required to erect temporary structures for when outdoor drinking and dining returns.
In his letter, Jenrick said that the rules should be waived unless there are exceptional circumstances.
That should mean that a gazebo or two is fine, but don't go around attempting to erect a gigantic Japanese pagoda or a two storey water feature outside the back of the boozer.
Jenrick said that he intends to cut back on bureaucracy in order to maximise the benefits to pubs and restaurants that have been forced to remain closed for so long during the coronavirus pandemic.
He 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.
"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."
Let's just hope the weather holds, then. Even with a marquee it can be pretty grim in April over here in the UK.
Jenrick has also given the green light for outdoor events such as car-boot sales, summer fairs, and outdoor markets to take place without getting planning permission.
Jenrick continued: "The automatic right to provide takeaways and do deliveries we created at the start of the pandemic is going to continue, as will the right for pubs to have marquees and awnings without planning permission for up to two months.
"We expect local authorities to grant licences for 12 months or more unless there are good reasons not to, such as plans for future changes in use of road space.
"Therefore, unless there are very good reasons, we would expect licences granted under these provisions to continue to apply into this summer so that businesses do not have to reapply or be charged a further application fee when they are able to re-open to serve customers outdoors."