Markets and marquees here to stay

Markets and marquees here to stay

The measures introduced earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic to allow high streets and businesses to hold outdoor markets or put up marquees in pub and restaurant gardens have now been made permanent.

Following a public consultation local hospitality businesses no longer need planning permission to put up a covered area on their land and councils will no longer need planning permission to hold an outdoor market.

It’s hoped the continuation of this originally temporary plan will boost local businesses and high streets as they can continue to offer an alternative to their inside settings.

The changes to permitted development rights, first introduced last year as a temporary measure to boost high streets and small businesses during national restrictions, were announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants will now be able to install gazebos on their own land without planning permission, helping them to better make use of their outside space all year round. Councils will also be able to hold street markets as required without the need for a planning application, attracting more people to high streets and town centres and boosting local businesses.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “The changes we introduced last year supported our town centres and high streets during national restrictions, making sure businesses could stay open and helping to instil a sense of community in our local areas.

“Making these measures permanent will help business and communities to build back better from the pandemic and are just one part of our vision to transform towns and cities across England into thriving places to work, visit and live.

Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “[The] 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, said: “Marquees and other structures provided a lifeline for some businesses during the pandemic, evidencing the value of covered outdoor spaces to hospitality venues.

[The] 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.”

Historic visitor attractions and hospitality businesses operating in listed buildings will be able to install a gazebo for 120 days in a 12-month period. This will provide additional flexibility while minimising the impacts to heritage sites.