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Planning Guidance

Outdoor areas at Pubs, restaurants etc..

We understand that many businesses are having to diversify their business and may be planning to use outdoor space to trade or to accommodate extra seating. We want to support businesses to be able trade in the ‘new normal’, whilst ensuring our priority is to keep the public safe. This guide outlines the steps you must take and provides you with some top tips to support you in getting permissions or licence applications approved by your local council. In June 2020, the Government proposed temporary relaxations of some licensing and planning laws through the new Business and Planning Bill, which has now passed as law. This builds on support introduced in March allowing many food and drink business, including pubs, to offer a takeaway service. Additionally, these changes will support hospitality staff return to work safely. Councils will need to continue to ensure that pavements and pedestrianised areas are not compromised, to ensure social distancing can still take place.

North Warwickshire fully recognises that furniture in areas outside appropriate business premises can make a positive contribution both in terms of the character of the area and its economic vibrancy. However, the Council has a responsibility to ensure as much as possible that such areas are properly controlled and managed so that their use does not adversely impact on the abilities of all members of the community to safely use the highway, or harm the amenity and character of an area.

You will need to bear in mind that planning permissions that may be required for any new structures intended to provide shelter from harsh British weather. Although wooden huts, lean-to, enclosed decked seating area,  transparent tents, domes and igloos are popping up all over, they are likely to require planning permission.

The impact of the outdoor operation on neighbours- not only the impact of noise but also bright lights need to be considered. Operators should carefully balance their obligation to keep outside areas safe and will lit against the nuisance caused to neighbours. Bad smells are also often cited as issues by local residents, but almost exclusively due to kitchen extraction from the main premises rather than the outdoor area, save where additional mobile catering is brought in. These are all statutory nuisance issues which can be enforced against by the local authority.  Solutions could be easily found to the problems, these could be screening, acoustic barriers, limiting the amount of people in a space, redirection of lighting or dealing with cooking smells from the ventilation systems. By putting these measures in place earlier on, unnecessary stress, time, money and negative relationships with residents could be avoided.

Last updated Monday, 12th April 2021

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