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Outdoor dining set to become permanent in major transformation for towns

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The Government has launched a consultation into whether the quick fix solutions which were introduced to help ease lockdown and protect the public could be left in place when the pandemic is over following evidence that they provided a major boost for businesses.

The Department for Communities is testing support for a change in the planning laws to allow permanent changes in the consultation launched today.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The simple reforms we made during the pandemic to help hospitality businesses, markets and historic visitor attractions make use of outdoor spaces more easily, made a massive impact. They helped thousands of businesses and attractions to prosper, made our town centres livelier and have been enjoyed by millions of us.

“As part of our vision to transform high streets into thriving places to work, visit and live, we intend to make as many of these measures permanent fixtures of British life as possible.”

 

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The permitted development rights introduced over the past year and that the Government are now consulting on include a right for markets to be held by or on behalf of local councils and a right for moveable structures to be allowed in the grounds of pubs, cafes, restaurants and historic visitor attractions.

As lockdown restrictions were eased in June 2020, the Government implemented temporary permitted development rights which allowed markets to be held by or on behalf of local councils for an unlimited number of days, including the provision of moveable structures related to this use.

This supported communities to hold outdoor markets and encouraged the use of outdoor public spaces, both to increase public health initiatives and the reopening of the high street.

In April 2021, moveable structures such as marquees and additional seating were allowed for the first time in the grounds of listed buildings, helping support the important hospitality and tourism sectors.

This has helped businesses increase capacity as they reopened, and the Government is now seeking views on making this permanent.

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