Announced on Friday 22 July as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, the changes meant the fast-track pavement licence provisions, originally introduced during the pandemic as a temporary measure, would be extended until Friday 30 September 2023, before becoming law.
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Greg Clark said: “We want to see bustling town centres across the country and that’s why the changes we made to licensing rules will become permanent.
“Making al fresco dining a permanent fixture on our high streets is part of our plan to level up communities and create vibrant places people want to live and work.”
Fast-track pavement licences were originally introduced in 2021 to make it easier and cheaper for the sector to attain licences to continue trading at the height of the pandemic with an initial expiry date of September 2021, extended again to September 2022 in July 2021.
However, It is understood the regulations only apply to applications made on or after 22 July 2022, with existing fast-track pavement licences set to expire on the 30 September 2022 without the submission of a new application to local authorities.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Any help the struggling hospitality sector gets right now is gratefully received, and making pavement licences permanent is hugely positive, offering potentially business-saving opportunities to hundreds of pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes."
It was unknown at the time of publication if the cost of the licences , currently £100, would remain the same.
Helping local economies
This comes as the City of London Corporation recently voted in favour of free pavement licences for hospitality business within Square Mile, Central London, until September 2023.
Nicholls added: “Vital in enabling businesses to trade during the pandemic when they might otherwise have been forced to close or restrict their opening hours, these licences can now benefit town and city centres by helping local economies recover faster, contributing to levelling up.
“Pavement licences also highlighted the hospitality industry’s ingenuity and creativity during Covid, as many venues invested heavily to develop fun, innovative outdoor spaces. Those farsighted businesses can now look forward to maximising the return on those investments.”