Government to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways as part of coronavirus effort

The government has announced that planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak.

Pubs: new PD right to allow food takeawys
Pubs: new PD right to allow food takeawys

Currently, planning permission is required for businesses to carry out a change of use to a hot food takeaway.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) yesterday evening, the government will "as soon as possible" introduce a time limited permitted development right through secondary legislation to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 - drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months only. Alcohol sales would still be subject to existing licensing laws.

Businesses will be required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends, the MHCLG statement said.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: "We are committed to doing everything we can to tackle the pandemic and support people, businesses and communities through this difficult time.

"These changes will provide vital flexibility to pubs and restaurants and will ensure people are able to safely stay at home while still supporting some of the great local businesses across this country."

The move is the latest in a series of announcements to help the planning system adjust to the coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday, Jenrick instructed English planning authorities to avoid enforcing controls that "unnecessarily" restrict the time and number of lorry deliveries to retailers and distributors of food and other "essential" deliveries during the coronavirus disruption.

Separately, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has said it will be considering "all the options" necessary to maintain momentum on appeals as it emerged that several inquiries have already been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

PINS has published updated guidance for staff and participants in appeal inquiries, hearings and site visits and local plan and Nationally-Significant Infrastructure Project examinations.

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