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Permitted Development Rights For Takeaway Services During Covid-19

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9th April, 2020

In order to assist the hospitality industry during these unprecedented times, the UK Government has temporarily relaxed the planning regulations in England by allowing restaurants, cafés and pubs to operate as food takeaways without planning permission.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force at 2PM on 21st March 2020.  These Regulations require the closure of businesses selling food or drink for consumption on the premises to protect against the risks to public health arising from coronavirus.  This meant that most restaurants, cafés and pubs were required to close at extremely short notice.

A lot of businesses in the hospitality sector have sought to adapt to the forced closures by offering food for consumption off the premises i.e. by becoming a take away. The problem with this idea was that most of these businesses did not have planning permission to operate as a take away.

The change was not covered by any permitted development right and therefore those businesses, many of whom were struggling financially, would have had to make a planning application.

This would have caused a lot of businesses to incur costs in making the application and, more importantly, there was likely to be significant delay in obtaining planning permission as local planning authorities were facing significant difficulties in determining applications as a result of Covid-19.

New Permitted Development Right

On 24th March 2020 the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 came into force enabling permitted development rights for restaurants/cafés (use class A3) and pubs (use class A4) to temporarily change its use to a food takeaway (use class A5) for a 12 month period, up until 23 March 2021, without first obtaining consent from the relevant planning authority.  The new permitted development right is called “Class DA”.

The Government has imposed the following conditions on the new right, which must be adhered to:-

  1. the relevant planning authority must be notified of the intention to provide a takeaway service;
  2. the temporary change of use does not affect the existing use of the property; and
  3. the business must revert to its previous lawful use when it stops providing a takeaway service, and by no later than 23 March 2021.

The permitted development right has not been extended to the serving of alcoholic drinks, which are still subject to the current licensing rules.

Operating under a lease

If your business is operating under a lease, you will need to check the wording of the ‘permitted use clause’ to ensure that you do breach the terms of your lease.  If using the premises as a takeaway is not permitted, you may need to obtain written consent from your landlord before providing a temporary takeaway service.

For further assistance with this matter, please contact Keith McKinney.

Keith McKinney

Planning, Environmental, Energy & Regulatory

Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01244 405 410

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