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Government proposes planning law change to make outdoor measures for high streets permanent

Consultation issued by Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

“On 5th September, the Government launched a public consultation with a view to making outdoor measures for high streets permanent.

Since March 2020 the Government has introduced a number of temporary permitted development rights under planning legislation in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Some of these rights were introduced to help support business in reopening and provide flexibility to encourage use of outdoor spaces. This includes marquees being put up in pub grounds, to street markets operating all year round.

This new consultation, which runs from 5th September 2021 to 14th November 2021 seeks evidence of the impact of the rights as they currently exist in their temporary form, and views on the future of those rights if they were to be made permanent.

The first, and perhaps most important is the right for the provision of moveable structures within the curtilage of a pub, café, restaurant or historic visitor attraction.

The Government suggests a height limit of 4 metres and a size limit of 50% of the footprint of the existing building on site.

These temporary rights currently expire on 1st January 2022.

The second permitted development right relates to markets being held by or on behalf of Local Authorities and is currently extended until 23rd March 2022. The Government is looking to see whether this right should also be made permanent and/or whether there should be a limit on the number of days that such a market (including moveable structures) could be held.

Please note none of these rights nor the consultation relate to requirements under licensing law.

The proposals relate only to England, and details can be found here

The consultation document makes it clear that two other temporary permitted development rights implemented in response to the Coronavirus pandemic are not subject to this consultation. The first, a right allowing pubs, cafés and restaurants to operate as takeaways without needing to apply for change of use will not be extended beyond 23rd March 2022. The Government says this right was in place to support businesses which needed to operate solely as a takeaway due to Coronavirus restrictions as this would usually constitute a change in use under planning law. These venues are able to continue to operate a takeaway as ancillary to their main business in the absence of this right and as such the right can fall away.

The second is a right which allows for additional days for the temporary use of land for any purpose, doubling the days allowed from 28 to 56 in 2020, and subsequently in 2021. This right expires on 31st December 2021, and it is not proposed to extend the additional days.

In summary, therefore, the main permitted development right being consulted upon in this new consultation is that permitting moveable structures within the curtilage of a pub, café, restaurant or historic visitor attraction, making it a permanent right.”

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