We're doing everything we can to support hospitality businesses benefit from the end of national lockdown restrictions.
We've issued this advice for businesses interested in opening a new outdoor seating area, use an existing area or vary their opening hours. We also want to be clear about our approach to how planning rules will be enforced at this time.
Outdoor seating areas
If you run a hospitality business, you can now apply for a 'pavement licence' which would allow you to put tables and chairs outside your café, bar or restaurant. The government has prepared guidance about pavement licences and, as you'd expect, there are conditions you'll need to accept too.
Until 30 September you won't need to apply for planning permission for the reasonable temporary use of land for tables or chairs providing the land is physically part of the curtilage of the business or directly connected to the business area, and you have the permission of the landowner.
Permission will not be required for temporary structures to either level ground or cover seating areas providing they do not harm the amenity of neighbouring properties.
Before making any changes you must consider the impact it will have on your neighbours. You will need to take all measures necessary to minimise the impact and review them regularly.
Permanent work/change to land or buildings will still require planning permission.
Amending your hours of opening
As there are no 'standard' opening hours for business premises in town centres, we don't think it would be appropriate to introduce a standard extended set of hours applicable to all businesses.
Instead, each application to amend opening hours will need to be judged on its own merits with reference to location the use of the land.
This means you will need to submit a planning application if you wish to temporarily or permanently vary opening hours controlled by a previous planning permission.
There may be restrictions on your opening hours, or use of external areas, under a premises licence or pavement licence issued by us. If this is the case, please contact our licensing team.
Being a good neighbour how we will enforce the rules
Our legal duties have not gone away because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Anti-social behaviour or a noise nuisance arising as a result of the use of an outdoor area or changes in your opening hours will not be tolerated and so we reserve the right to withdraw this planning advice in cases where harm to the amenity of neighbouring properties occur.
If we receive a complaint about your business, we will investigate. If we think the complaint is justified, and we have the evidence to prove it, we may have to take formal action.
To help you maintain good relationships with neighbouring residents and businesses we advise you to think about doing the following as part of your plans:
- speak to your neighbours about your plans before you apply for permission or open up
- listen to their concerns no matter how small they maybe to you
- tell them how you will address their concerns
- if you tell them you will do something then make sure you do it
- keep them informed especially of any changes to what you have agreed
- give them your telephone number to call if they have a problem
When planning permission is required
Should you wish to undertake works to your premises which are not covered by this advice either by their scale or type, and where planning permission is required, we will undertake the following steps to ensure you receive a decision as soon as is possible:
- we will prioritise the receipt and validation of your application
- we will allocate your case promptly to an officer familiar with town centre issues
- we will get back to you with any issues or suggested amendments in a timely manner
- we will determine your application as soon as is possible
For more information on planning matters please contact us on 01423 500600 or email [email protected].