Covid 19 licensing and planning rule changes

Use class planning rules

Planning rules were relaxed so that pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways. 

The measures applied to hot food and drinks.

Serving of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.

Businesses now no longer need to apply for planning permission for a change of use of the footpath / highway for use as additional outdoor seating areas. 

Instead, this can be given permission under the ‘Pavement Licence Scheme' which is administered by our licensing team.

Apply for a pavement licence

The government introduced a time limited permitted development right through secondary legislation to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 - drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafe's) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months.

Businesses are required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends. 

Please email for any queries about pavement licences or email for any enquiries about premises operating as hot food takeaways.

Planning regulations

The Government permitted builders and construction companies additional leeway during the pandemic to work hours outside of those previously restricted by condition, or to apply to vary the hours and have their application determined quickly. The Government also allowed additional flexibility outside of their usual permitted hours for supermarket and food deliveries.

Usual enforcement action may therefore not be taken in order to help ensure vital food supplies can continue to be delivered throughout the pandemic.

There were no extensions to compliance timeframes for planning enforcement notices or breach of conditions notices.

If you got a notice you should still continue to comply as instructed. 

New enforcement notices were served as appropriate throughout the pandemic in order to protect public amenity and building standards. 

Business and Planning Act (2020) 

The Government introduced further changes to planning under the Business and Planning Bill (2020).

Some of the changes

  • Construction (of more than 1 new dwelling) being able to apply for extended hours of construction, with a fast tracked application process.
  • Ability of commercial premises to utilise the space outside their premises for the sale and consumption of food and drink without requiring planning permission for the change of use. A new Pavement Licence (see above) would still be required for which further information can be found in the licensing area of the website.
  • Planning permissions which are about to, or have expired during the commencement of the lockdown period can be extended, again via a reduced application process.
  • A further expansion of permitted development (PD) rights. A comprehensive new Class E use class replaces previous Class A. These changes are summarised in detail on the Planning Portal.


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