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Al fresco dining licences extended ahead of ‘great British summer’

Written by on 08/03/2021

Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to put tables on pavements for another year to help the hospitality industry recover.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has sent a letter to English councils urging them to do “everything possible” to get ready for high streets to reopen when step two of the lockdown easing roadmap happens.

That includes extending measures introduced last year to allow pubs, restaurants and cafes to apply for a licence, costing a maximum of £100, to put removable furniture outside their venues on pavements.

Venues who applied for the licence before should not have to pay again or reapply, Mr Jenrick said.

A social distancing guidance sign on the pavement in Manchester city centre. Cities in northern England and other areas suffering a surge in Covid-19 cases may have pubs and restaurants temporarily closed to combat the spread of the virus.
Image: Robert Jenrick has urged councils to get high streets ready for a ‘great British summer’

Hospitality venues will be allowed to open outside areas from 12 April at the earliest, with six people from different households or a larger group from two households.

When the speedy pavement licences were introduced last summer, local authorities were told they could grant them for a minimum of three months and up to 12 months or more, up to 30 September 2021.

The rule, which also includes a maximum five business day decision, will now be extended for a further 12 months until September 2022, Mr Jenrick said.

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Parliament still needs to approve the move but is expected to without issue.

UK Hospitality, which represents the industry, said it was “delighted” at the extension.

Mr Jenrick told councils other measures introduced last year will remain in place as restrictions are eased.

They are:

• Greater flexibility for land to be used for temporary events – such as markets and motorsports – for up to 56 days instead of the usual 28 without planning permission

• Outdoor markets, marquees, pop-up car boot sales or summer fairs will not need a planning application to go ahead

• Planning rules will continue to be relaxed to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways

The communities secretary said: “We’re all looking forward to seeing pubs, cafes and restaurants open again as we start to gear up for what should be a great British summer.

“Therefore, I’m delighted to announce an extension on temporary provisions for pavement licences for a further 12 months.

“This will give further certainty to businesses as they recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

 Sky News

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