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Scotland relaxes enforcement rules to aid takeaway services during coronavirus outbreak

Words: Laura Edgar
Takeaway / iStock-1191020978

Scotland’s chief planner and planning minister have written to local authorities about the relaxation of enforcement regarding pubs and restaurants offering takeaway services during the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Currently, many of the country’s pubs do not have planning permission to operate as takeaway businesses, but both John McNairney and Kevin Stewart believe that, given the public health challenge facing Scotland, “it is vital that support is given to these businesses to allow them to maximise opportunities to maintain a revenue stream and avoid potential closure and loss of small businesses”.

Further to this, they think the provision of takeaway food and drink services from local businesses would allow the public access to goods and services with a minimum risk of exposure to Covid-19.

“The purpose of this chief planner letter is to make clear that the Scottish Government considers that, as a matter of urgency, planning authorities should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting public houses and restaurants providing takeaway services on a temporary basis during the current exceptional circumstances,” says the letter.

Supermarket deliveries

McNairney and Stewart have also written to local authorities about planning restrictions that confine deliveries from lorries and other delivery vehicles to within set hours.

The letter makes it clear that the Scottish Government wants planning authorities to take a “positive approach to their engagement with food retailers and distributors, as well as the freight industry, to ensure planning controls are not a hard barrier to food delivery” during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Planning authorities should not, they write, seek to undertake planning enforcement action that would result in the unnecessarily restriction of food deliveries and other essential deliveries during this time, or in regard to extended store opening times, having regard to their legal obligations. 

“The Scottish Government recognises that the increased use of night-time deliveries could have a temporary impact on local residents.”

Both of these temporary measures would be reviewed in three months. McNairney and Stewart intend to restore full enforcement powers and planning controls once the immediate urgency of Covid-19 has subsided.

Read more: 

Coronavirus (Covid-19) – relaxation of enforcement where public houses and restaurants offer a takeaway service during the current outbreak letter

Coronavirus: handling of planning conditions for retail deliveries and store opening times letter

Image credit | iStock