'Red tape' won't ruin summer for pubs, minister says as licensing freedoms extended

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Slashing red tape: the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said it will ensure it is cheap and quick for pubs to adapt to outdoor service (image: ViewApart, Getty Images)
Slashing red tape: the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said it will ensure it is cheap and quick for pubs to adapt to outdoor service (image: ViewApart, Getty Images)

Related tags: lockdown, Beer garden, coronavirus, Beer, Summer, Planning, Al fresco

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed it will extend provisions to make it easier for pubs to utilise outdoor space.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said previous temporary changes made to licensing laws and planning restrictions for outdoor service would be extended.

Provisions for temporary pavement licences are to be continued for a further 12 months.

“We won't let red tape get in the way of the great British summer,” a video tweeted by the minister declared.

With these measures, pubs will be able to offer takeaways and deliveries, set up outdoor service “easily and affordably,” and put up marquees in beer gardens without planning permission.

In a letter to local authorities​, Jenrick reminded leaders of existing freedoms permitted to businesses for outdoor hospitality in the Business and Planning Act 2020.

The legislation is currently due to expire on 30 September 2021 but will be extended for a further 12 months, subject to Parliamentary approval of secondary legislation.

Measures permitting hospitality businesses to serve takeaway food will continue to apply until March 2022, Jenrick stated.

Businesses will be exempt from needing planning permission for setting up marquees until 31 December 2021.

Spring reopening

Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared his intention for beer gardens to reopen from 12 April at the earliest​, depending on whether a number of conditions relating to progress tackling the pandemic were met.

Pubs will be allowed to reopen for indoor service five weeks later, from 17 May at the earliest.

Existing legislation permits the speedy use of the highway for tables and chairs and adds off-sales to those licences who need it, up until 11pm.

The pavement licence costs operators no more than £100 and enables local authorities to delegate decisions to sub committees and council officials, expediting the process.

The Government has suggested further details on outdoor trading will be released nearer the earmarked time of introduction.​  

Previous coronavirus regulations have been based on the definition of indoors, taken from the smoke-free regulations.

Related topics: Licensing law

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