Thousands more pubs to open next month after ruling means bars can erect gazebos


Thousands more pubs will be able to open next month after ministers ruled gazebos and marquees can go up without planning permission.

Councils have also been ordered to let bars and restaurants allow al-fresco dining from April 12, when outdoor serving returns, reports said.

Whitehall figures suggest the move will allow 9,000 additional venues to open next month rather than having to wait for indoor serving in May.

Any venue, even if it is listed, can put up a marquee or structure of any size on their land without planning permission, and keep it up till September, as part of ministers’ “gazebo offensive”.

Side panels will need to be open for ventilation, but paperwork is not an issue after ministers ordered councils to back down on threats to cripple the reopening with red tape.

In another major boost, venues with pavement access can put out tables and chairs for dining without having to go through the tedious public consultation process that usually takes weeks.

What do you think of the ‘gazebo offensive’? Let us know in the comments

Members of the public enjoy their first drink in a beer garden at SWG3 on July 06, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland
Ministers are keen to allow for more venues to open

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They can notify their town hall and carry on serving if they do not hear back in 10 days.

A new £56million Welcome Back Fund has also been earmarked to help towns and cities get ready to throw open their doors.

Councils will be able to apply for cash to hold beer and food festivals in high streets to get people back to shops.

Cash will go to town halls to put up more outdoor seating and keep spaces Covid-secure.

A waiter wearing a protective face mask serves customers at tables outside a restaurant in Soho
Al fresco dining and drinking can be enjoyed from next month

2017 Charity Shearing Rhosgoch event at the Ring pub, Rhosgoch, Anglesey
Venues will be able to put up gazebos and marquees without planning permission

Flowers can be planted, graffiti scrubbed off and cash plugged into parks to get ready for the big unlocking.

Housing, Communities and Local Government Minister Robert Jenrick said tonight: “We have cut needless red tape to make it easier for pubs and restaurants to set up marquees, making the most of outdoor space and giving more people the chance to enjoy a meal or pint.

“Every pub in the land can now erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer: A shot in the arm for our wonderful pubs.”

He added: “I am hugely grateful for the spirit and strength that business owners and communities have shown this year.”

The rule change was welcomed by the pub industry.

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “It’s good news for pubs, as we move towards the outdoor reopening, that rules around outdoor spaces will be more relaxed, particularly given the vagaries of the April weather.

“We would urge the Government and local councils to work with publicans to ensure as many people as possible are able to return to the Great British pub.”

And Nik Antona, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “The news that pubs will be able to put up marquees without planning permission is great.”

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