The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on businesses across the country causing many to cease trading for several months whilst others have had to significantly modify their way of operating. As the economy starts to re-open on 25th June 2020 the Government announced a proposal to further relaxation to planning and licensing laws to help the hospitality industry to recover from the coronavirus lockdown by removing short term obstacles that would ordinarily get in their way.
The Business and Planning Act makes it easier for premises to serve food and drink (such as bars, restaurants and public houses) in accordance with the guidance.
As the lockdown restrictions are lifted but social distancing guidelines remain in place to seat and serve customers outdoors, the legislation is designed to temporarily change the planning procedures and alcohol licensing to support the trade in complying with the guidelines.
The legislation introduces a temporary fast-track process for these businesses to obtain permission, in the form of a “pavement licence”, from Rochford District Council for the placement of furniture such as tables and chairs on the pavement adjacent to their premise which will enable them to maximise their capacity whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.
It will be a temporary measure to boost the economy, with provisions lasting until the end of September 2021– giving certainty to businesses for the foreseeable future, supporting them to operate safely while social distancing measures are in place. It will also allow them enough time to apply for new licences under the existing process if they want to extend beyond the end of September 2021.
How to apply
An application to the local authority must:
- Be completed electronically using the gov.uk website
- Pay the required fee, paid by credit or debit card
- Contain or be accompanied by such evidence of public liability insurance in respect of anything to be done pursuant to the licence as the authority may require
- A plan showing the location of the premises shown by a red line, so the application site can be clearly identified
Within the application, the applicant must
- specify the premises and, the part of the relevant highway to which the application relates;
- specify the purpose (or purposes) for which the furniture will be used which must be to sell or serve food or drink, and/or for use by other people for the consumption of food or drink. In both cases the food or drink must be supplied from, or in connection with relevant use of the premises;
- specify the days of the week on which and the hours between which it is proposed to have furniture on the highway;
- describe the type of furniture to which the application relates, for example: tables, chairs, and/or stalls;
- specify the date on which the application is made;
- the proposed duration of the licence (for e.g. 3 months, 6 months, or a year);
- evidence that the applicant has met the requirement to give notice of the application (for example photograph);
- any other evidence needed to demonstrate how any local and national conditions will be satisfied.
Applications cannot be submitted via the post and will be accepted via this page on or after 20th July 2020.
For more information, please refer the Related Content section on this webpage.