COVID – 19 – Changes to Planning Legislation

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has seen the closure of premises and the potential demise of businesses. The food and drink industry has been hit particularly hard through the closure of cafés, restaurants and public houses due to Government advice on social distancing. This is likely to have a devastating effect on those operating within this sector, and with no sign of when the lockdown will end, the difficult times are set to continue.


It is some relief then that the Government has introduced an amendment to planning legislation, namely the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, to introduce a new ‘permitted development right’ to change the use of cafés, restaurants and public houses to temporarily provide takeaway food (i.e. to operate as a hot food takeaway or allow for the provision of hot or cold food that has been prepared for consumers for collection or delivery to be consumed, reheated or cooked by consumers off the premise). This will enable businesses the potential to continue operating and provide a service to the public in these uncertain times.


In order to commence this new takeaway use, businesses must notify the local planning authority (i.e. the local Council’s planning department) of the intention to use the property for the provision of takeaway food .The temporary period lasts until 23rd March 2021, at which point the property will revert to the use prior to becoming used for takeaway purposes.


If you would like advice on this temporary change of use, or would like assistance in arranging the temporary change of use with the local planning authority, please contact our planning team.