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Temporary changes to planning rules come into force in Cheltenham

Words: Laura Edgar
Cheltenham / Shutterstock_749644483

Cheltenham Borough Council is accelerating applications for temporary changes to the use of public areas and private land to help businesses to recover from the effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The changes are intended to make it easier for businesses to accommodate more physical space to ensure that social distancing can be adhered to – including being able to place tables and chairs on a footpath or public square. 

Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “The council firmly believes that in Cheltenham we have the people, skills and local solutions to deliver a strong recovery. Temporary changes form part of the council’s recovery strategy to help Cheltenham businesses recover as quickly as possible from the current trading restrictions.’’

The council has worked with key stakeholders to address the challenges that the pandemic has had on businesses and organisations in the town and has published a draft recovery strategy.

Ordinarily, new buildings on private land and the town’s parks and gardens – where businesses do already operate – need planning permission. The temporary rules will mean that existing businesses and organisations in the town will be able to create temporary buildings or structures on the land without needing planning permission. This temporary period is set to end on 1 December.

David Oakhill, head of planning, explained: “Whilst temporary buildings or structures will need to be removed in time, we hope this temporary change will help businesses to function in the near term. An example of this would be a light industrial business that may need more office space to accommodate staff and ensure social distancing. They may want to locate a temporary building on hardstanding alongside the industrial unit to accommodate staff who cannot work from home. If the temporary building does not compromise the car parking or operation of the site, in principle, this would be supported.” 

More information on the changes, which came into force on 9 June, can be found on the Cheltenham Borough Council website. 

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