Outdoor markets and marquees to be made permanent in boost for hospitality sector

Temporary legislation permitting outdoor markets and marquees will be made permanent, the Government has confirmed.

The announcement will be welcomed by high street firms and hospitality businesses that are facing increasing coronavirus uncertainty.

The temporary permitted development rights were introduced last year to support pubs, restaurants, hotels, and retailers during national lockdowns.

Under the rules, hospitality businesses are allowed to construct and erect gazebos and marquees on their own land for an unlimited number of days without planning permission, while local authorities are able to hold street markets as required without the need for a planning application.

The changes helped businesses make better use of their outside space and attracted a significant number of customers to high streets and town centres.

The temporary legislation was set to end in 2022, but the Government has now confirmed that the permitted development rights will be made permanent following a public consultation.

Commenting on the announcement, Craig Beaumont, Chief of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “Today’s announcement is a positive, sensible deregulatory measure. It permanently removes barriers for small businesses to do things that we all love in our local areas, and so small firms will be pleased to see this.

“As we look to keep going through the Omicron wave, this will be something that supports the Spring economic recovery, giving a boost to firms on the high street, in retail, in pubs and restaurants, in markets, in small-scale events and in the weddings industry that have all been affected so deeply by COVID.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, added: “Marquees and other structures provided a lifeline for some businesses during the pandemic, evidencing the value of covered outdoor spaces to hospitality venues.

“Today’s announcement is a really positive move to rid businesses of an administrative burden and encouraging better use of outdoor space – for many venues it will expedite future recovery and growth.”

The news comes after the Government announced £1 billion of new support for local businesses.

According to HM Treasury, firms in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises, while £100 million of discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other affected businesses.

The latest research suggests that hospitality businesses have lost 40 to 60 per cent of their December trade – traditionally the most profitable month of the year.

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