Fast Track Applications - Business and Planning Act 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected businesses across the economy causing many to cease trading for several months while others have had to significantly modify their operations. As the economy starts to re-open, the Government have introduced the Business and Planning Act 2020 which makes it easier for premises serving food and drink such as bars, restaurants and pubs, as lockdown restrictions are lifted but social distancing guidelines remain in place to seat and serve customers outdoors through temporary changes to planning procedures and alcohol licensing.
The Act also introduces a temporary fast-track process for these businesses to obtain permission, in the form of a “pavement licence”, from Brentwood Borough Council for the placement of furniture such as tables and chairs on the pavement outside their premise which will enable them to maximise their capacity whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.
The government have produced guidance on the new fast track application process which should be read before making an application.
Although Brentwood Borough Council has an existing Pavement Licence Policy, which Brentwood Borough Council will have regard to for applications under this process, the guidance will take present where the two differ, and a temporary revised policy will be developed soon.
To assist business recover, the fee for this application will be waived for those complete applications submitted electronically between 28 July 2020 and the 31st August 2020, any application thereafter will be £100.
There is a requirement for the applicant to affix a notice to the premises, so it is easily visible and legible to the public on the day they submit the application to the local authority. A notice template is available here.
The notice must remain in place for the public consultation period which is the period of 5 working days beginning with the day after the day the application is submitted to the authority. When counting ‘working days’ public holidays are not included.
Determination of application
Applications will be determined within 10 working days. If we do not determine the application within the 10 working day period, the application will be deemed to have been granted.
Duration of Licence
A licence will usual be granted for 12 months or more unless there are good reasons for granting a licence for a shorter period such as plans for future changes in use of road space. A licence granted or deemed to be granted will not be valid beyond 30 September 2021.
Other regulatory processes
The measures included in the Act modify provisions in the Licensing Act 2003 to provide automatic extensions to the terms of on-sales alcohol licences to allow for off-sales. It will be a temporary measure to boost the economy, with provisions lasting until the end of September 2021. Once a licence is granted, or deemed to be granted, the applicant will also benefit from deemed planning permission to use the land for anything done pursuant to the licence while the licence is valid.
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