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Pubs to operate as food takeaways under government response to coronavirus

Words: Laura Edgar
Temporary change of use for pubs / iStock-1176605383

The government has announced that planning regulations in England will be relaxed so that pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Under current regulations, planning permission is required for businesses to carry out this change.

The limited permitted development right will see a temporary change of use of an A4 drinking establishment (pub) and an A3 establishment (restaurant and cafés) to a hot food takeaway for up to 12 months.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said the measures enabling this to happen will apply for a limited time while people stay at home in an attempt to control the spread of the virus.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to tackle the pandemic and support people, businesses and communities through this difficult time.

“These changes will provide vital flexibility to pubs and restaurants and will ensure people are able to safely stay at home while still supporting some of the great local businesses across this country.”

According to the government, the relaxation of this rule will be put in place as soon as possible through secondary legislation. It will apply to hot food and drinks – the serving of alcoholic drinks will remain subject to licensing laws.

Under the measure, businesses will need to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends.


The legislation for the relaxation of on planning regulations in England has been laid and was made official on 24 March. The temporary permitted development right will end on 23 March 2021.

Conditions for the change of use include that the developer must notify the local planning authority if the building and any land within its curtilage is being used, or will be used, for the provision of takeaway food at any time during the relevant period.

The legislation can be read here.

Image credit | iStock