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New Bill will allow licensed premises to offer al fresco dining

PUBLISHED: 08:30 02 July 2020

The Business and Planning Bill will allow operators of licensed premises to apply for a “pavement licence” to put removable furniture outside    Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Business and Planning Bill will allow operators of licensed premises to apply for a “pavement licence” to put removable furniture outside Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

© Alena Kravchenko

Jamie Childs, senior associate in the planning team at Howes Percival, explains the legal changes which will allow food and drink businesses to offer dining from chairs and tables on the pavement.

Jamie Childs, senior associate in the planning team at Howes PercivalJamie Childs, senior associate in the planning team at Howes Percival

The Business and Planning Bill – expected to become law in the next few days – includes useful new provisions for operators of licensed premises who are preparing to reopen in the coming weeks.

Firstly, the Bill will allow operators of licensed premises to apply for a “pavement licence” to put removable furniture on a part of the highway adjacent to a premises in connection with the sale or service of food or drink supplied from that premises.

If granted, a pavement licence will automatically expire at the end of September 2021, unless granted for a shorter period (which may not be shorter than three months).

The Government envisage these provisions being used to provide additional space for premises to operate safely, alongside the use of car parks, terraces and any areas already permitted to be used through licences for existing seating.

This change follows recent temporary changes to permitted development rights which, for planning purposes, allow pubs, cafes and restaurants to provide takeaway food until 23 March 2021, subject to notifying the relevant local planning authority.

In addition, the Bill will amend the Licensing Act 2003 by allowing the majority of premises licences which only permit the “on-sale” of alcohol, to be treated as if they were varied to allow “off-sales” from the day the Bill becomes law to 30 September 2021.

The Bill also proposes to vary conditions on premises licences which do already allow “on-sales” or “off-sales” but are subject to conditions relating to the time when such “off-sales” may be made, restricting “off-sales” in open containers or preventing sales for delivery to allow such activities for as long as the licence authorises off-sales (again, to 30 September 2021, or earlier in certain circumstances).

Locally, Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council are intending to make temporary changes to some Norwich streets with a view to making space available for street café activity, which operators of licenced premises may look to take full advantage of.

For further information about Howes Percival’s specialist Leisure and Tourism team visit the website at www.howespercival.com/sectors/leisure-and-tourism/


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