Covid-19 outdoor safety measures could become permanent features

Measures introduced to aid high streets and hospitality venues during the Covid-19 pandemic could now become permanent as the UK Government opens consultation on the permitted development rights (PDRs).

These measures include marquees in pub grounds, street markets operating year round, and eating outside as lockdown restrictions were slowly eased following several lockdowns. New licensing arrangements could also be agreed.

The Government is consulting on making a number of these permanent as “we build back better” from the pandemic. These include:

  • Class BA of part 12 for markets to be held by or on behalf of local councils: This temporary PDR that allowed markets to be held for an unlimited number of days, including the provision of moveable structures related to this use.
  • Class BB of part 4 for moveable structures in the grounds of pubs, cafes, restaurants and historic visitor attractions: These were allowed for the first time in the grounds of listed buildings to help to support the hospitality and tourism sectors. They were able to increase capacity as they reopened.

The Government said the consultation is also looking for views on PDRs to support the “efficient development” of MOD (Ministry of Defence) sites. This includes providing more accommodation, workspace, and training facilities at fewer facilities to reduce the pressure on local authorities.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The simple reforms we made during the pandemic to help hospitality businesses, markets and historic visitor attractions make use of outdoor spaces more easily, made a massive impact. They helped thousands of businesses and attraction to prosper, made our town centres livelier and have been enjoyed by millions of us.

“As part of our vision to transform high streets into thriving places to work, visit and live, we intend to make as many of these measures permanent fixtures of British life as possible.”

The public consultation can be found on the UK Government website.