Planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak, the Communities Secretary has confirmed. 

Currently, planning permission is required for businesses to carry out a change of use to a hot food takeaway. The government has confirmed regulations will be relaxed to enable businesses to deliver this service without a planning application.

The measures are the latest in a series of practical steps the government is taking to support businesses and help people who need to self-isolate, as well as vulnerable groups and older people who have been strongly advised to avoid social contact outside their homes to prevent the spread of coronavirus.  

Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

We are committed to doing everything we can to tackle the pandemic and support people, businesses and communities through this difficult time.

These changes will provide vital flexibility to pubs and restaurants and will ensure people are able to safely stay at home while still supporting some of the great local businesses across this country.

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.

Further information

The measures will apply to hot food and drinks. Serving of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.

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 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.

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