Red tape slashed to simplify outdoor service for pubs

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

State aid: the Government is supporting outdoor dining as part of its effort to help the economy bounce back from coronavirus
State aid: the Government is supporting outdoor dining as part of its effort to help the economy bounce back from coronavirus

Related tags: Coronavirus, Licensing

The Government has introduced simpler licensing processes for outdoor seating for pubs in a bid to make it easier for people to safely eat and drink outside and in turn, help operators bounce back from the coronavirus lockdown amid reopening.

This means pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas using their existing seating licences upon reopening from Saturday 4 July, thanks to the Business and Planning Bill.

The Bill is being introduced in the House of Commons and ministers have said it will support hospitality staff return to work, revive businesses and provide a boost to high streets impacted by the pandemic.

The changes introduced by the Government mean the consultation period for applications of pavement licences will shorten from 28 calendar days to five working days and grant consent after 10 working days if the council does not issue a decision. It also means there is a lower application fee for a pavement and street café licence of up to £100.

Helping hand

However, councils will need to continue to ensure communities are consulted on licensing applications, waste is responsibly disposed of and access to pavements and pedestrianised areas is now compromised.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: “I know we all look forward to seeing our pubs, cafés and restaurants open their doors again and I’m determined to give them a helping hand to get back on their feet and their staff back to work safely.

“That’s why we are introducing changes to make it quicker, easier and cheaper for them to set up outdoor seating and street stalls to serve food and drink.”

Crucial summer

Business secretary Alok Sharma hailed hospitality businesses as the "lifeblood of high streets and town centres."

He added: “We are doing all we can to ensure they can bounce back as quickly and safely as possible.

“This week, we gave our vital hospitality sector the green light to reopen from 4 July and today (Thursday 25 June) we are introducing new legislation to enable businesses to make the most of the crucial summer months ahead.”

After speaking to a senior Government source, The Morning Advertiser (MA) ​reported Government financial support for the trade was expected to continue​ amid lockdown measures relaxing.

Related topics: Licensing law

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