The government launches a public consultation to make permanent the external measures for shopping streets

The temporary measures that gave a huge boost to shopping streets and hospitality during the pandemic could be made permanent following a public consultation launched today (September 5, 2021).

From marquees set up in pubs to year-round street markets, Authorized Development Rights (PDRs) have allowed people to enjoy al fresco dining and tour city centers and tourist attractions while the country reopens after the pandemic.

These planning reforms have also given businesses and boards a lifeline to operate alongside regeneration rights and new licensing agreements.

The government aims to make a number of them permanent so that people can continue to enjoy outdoor hospitality and local attractions, and businesses can innovate, as we recover better from the pandemic. The public will now be able to comment on the proposed reforms, so that they can continue to benefit everyone in the future.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said:

The simple reforms we made during the pandemic to help hotel businesses, markets and historic tourist attractions more easily use outdoor spaces have had a huge impact. They have helped thousands of businesses and attractions thrive, brought downtown areas to life, and have been loved by millions of us.

As part of our vision to transform the shopping streets into places to work, visit and live in prosperity, we intend to make as many of these measurements as possible permanent elements of British life.

Authorized development rights introduced over the past year and on which the government is currently consulting include:

1. Right to conduct markets by or on behalf of municipalities

While foreclosure restrictions were relaxed in June 2020, the government implemented a temporary RDP that allowed markets to be held by or on behalf of local councils for an unlimited number of days, including the provision of mobile structures related to this use.

This has helped communities organize outdoor markets and encouraged the use of outdoor public spaces, both to increase public health initiatives and the reopening of the main street. The government is proposing to make this right permanent.

2. Right for movable structures on the grounds of pubs, cafes, restaurants and historic tourist attractions

In April 2021, mobile structures such as marquees and additional seating were allowed for the first time on the grounds of listed buildings, helping to support important hospitality and tourism sectors.

This has helped businesses increase capacity when they reopen, and the government is now seeking advice to make this permanent.

The consultation will also seek advice on new development rights authorized to support the effective development of Ministry of Defense sites. This includes providing more housing, workspaces and training facilities in fewer facilities to reduce pressure on local authorities.

More information

This consultation contains proposed changes to two development rights authorized in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 that were introduced to support businesses and Main Street in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It covers the following areas:

Part 4 class BB allowing the provision of movable structures in the backyard of pubs, cafes, restaurants and historic tourist attractions.

The consultation proposes that this be made permanent, subject to a number of factors, seeking to consult on a limitation of 56 days per year, which corresponds to the temporary land use right above. Opinions are also sought on the introduction of a height limit of 4 meters and a size limit not exceeding 50% of the existing buildings on the site.

Part 12 Class BA allowing contracts to be held by or on behalf of local authorities

This made it possible to hold markets by or on behalf of local authorities for an unlimited number of days, including the provision of mobile structures linked to this use. Previously, there was an allowance of 14 days per calendar year to hold a market as part of the temporary use of an authorized development right (Part 12, Class B).

This consultation also contains new authorized development rights proposed to support the delivery of infrastructure to the sites of the Ministry of Defense, to invest and transform its domain. This includes providing more accommodation, workspace and training facilities in fewer facilities.

To enable the efficient development of MOD sites and reduce pressure on local authorities, the MOD seeks authorized development rights:

  • To enable us to expand our individual housing and supporting infrastructure up to 25% of the footprint of the total current single-family residential buildings (and supporting infrastructure) on a military site at the time of entry into force of the legislation.
  • To enable us to expand our work and training facilities / spaces up to 35% of the total footprint of the current workspace and training buildings on the military site at the time of entry into force of legislation.
  • Where the proposed footprint on the site exceeds 4000 m², the authorized development rights will be subject to prior approval by the local authority with respect to the location and scale of the work.
  • Additional restrictions apply depending on height.

These new authorized development rights will provide much greater flexibility and agility to military sites under development, allowing the MOD to better utilize the sites and deliver to its full capacity.

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