Relaxation of planning laws to help food and drinks industry

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the government closed all cafes, restaurants and bars until further notice. The government has however announced its intention to implement through secondary legislation a new temporary development right allowing a change of use of pubs (Class A4) and restaurants (Class A3) to hot food takeaways (Class A5) for a period of 12 months. The measures will apply to hot food and drinks, but the sale of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.

This would be a welcome initiative for the currently hard-hit food and drinks industry. Businesses wishing to benefit from this temporary measure would need to notify the local planning authority when the new use will begin and end.

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP  said: “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”.

Before implementing this change of use, tenants should review their lease carefully to ensure that such a change of use is permitted. If not expressly permitted, tenants can request consent from their landlords which if approved, should be formally documented.

Currently planning permission is required for this change of use, but the government intends to introduce these measures as soon as possible. We will provide a further update once this measure has been implemented.

***UPDATE NOW AVAILABLE HERE***

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Sofia Loizidou
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