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Pavement licence procedure proposed to be extended permanently from September 2022

The Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill has been tabled before Parliament and proposes a few slight changes to the current procedure

Following the Queen’s speech earlier this week, the Government have tabled the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill (The ‘Bill’) in the House of Commons.

The Bill, which is currently draft and will be debated and scrutinised by Parliament before becoming law, proposes to make the regime for Pavement Licences issued under the Business and Planning act permanent.

The Business and Planning Act was initially brought in as an emergency piece of legislation in July 2020 in response to the COVID pandemic, and permitted a quicker, cheaper, and streamlined service for licensed premises to apply to place tables and chairs outside their premises.

The Business and Planning Act is currently expiring on the 30th September 2022.

The Bill proposes to make some slight amendments to the current provisions, which are summarised as follows:

  • Amend the fee councils can charge applicants, increasing it from £100 to £350 for premises which already hold a pavement licence, and £500 for new applicants.
  • Extend the public consultation period and council determination period from 7 days to 14 days.
  • Extend the maximum duration of pavement licences from 1 year to 2 years. The length of a licence is however at the discretion of the local authority.
  • Provide that pavement Licences can also be amended by the local authority with the consent of the licence holder if it is considered that the conditions on the licence are not being met.
  • Prohibit a local authority from granting a tables and chairs licence under the old regime (Highways Act 1980) if a pavement permit is capable of being granted under this Bill
  • Insert a new Enforcement schedule providing powers to the local authority to remove furniture if a premise is not abiding by its pavement licence conditions and hours.

One of the current benefits of the pavement licence procedure is that once a pavement licence is granted by the local authority, the premises will benefit from deemed planning permission for the furniture for the duration of the pavement licence. There is no proposal to change this.

Any pavement licence that has been granted under the Business and Planning Act and has no limit on its duration, will expire 2 years after the date that the Bill becomes law.

Any pavement licences which have a current expiry date of 30 September 2022, or earlier, will still expire on that date and a renewal will be needed before its expiration to continue providing tables and chairs outside.

In addition to the relaxation to the pavement licence provisions provided by the Business and Planning Act, a relaxation was also given back in 2020 to licensed premises with regards to off-sales. There is nothing in the Bill which extends this benefit, and currently this will expire on the 30 September 2022.

The Bill is currently a draft piece of legislation and subject to change. A further e-news will follow once the Bill becomes law.

The Bill applies to England and Wales only.

A link to the bill can be seen here – Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill (parliament.uk)

For more information on this, or any other licensing legal matter, contact licensing solicitor Felix Faulkner, or call 0203 859 7760.

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