Planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak.
On Monday the UK government recommended that people should avoid restaurants, bars and clubs, to slow the spread of coronavirus. Nevertheless, pubs and restaurants will be able to operate as hot food takeaways to serve people having to stay at home.
Currently, planning permission is required for businesses to carry out a change of use to a hot food takeaway.
But planning rules will be relaxed to enable businesses to deliver this service without a planning application during the coronavirus outbreak, the Communities Secretary has confirmed on Tuesday.
Permitted development rights allow movement between one use class and another, for example, from a restaurant (A3) to a shop (A1) without planning permission.
The government has confirmed the relaxations to planning rules will be put in place as soon as possible to provide reassurance to businesses and enable them to start providing takeaways to people quickly.
The government will introduce a time limited permitted development right through secondary legislation (negative SI) to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 – drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months only. Businesses will be required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends.
It is important to note that the measures will apply to hot food and drinks only. Serving of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.