Planning regulations temporarily relaxed to support hospitality industry

PUBS, restaurants and cafes in Scotland are to have greater flexibility to make use of outside space, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

Regulations on planning are to be temporarily relaxed in a bid to support the hospitality sector, the government said. The news means that areas such as footpaths may be used for seating and structures such as open-sided gazebos.

Planning minister Kevin Stewart said, “Scotland’s hospitality industry is vital to our economy which is why we took immediate steps to address the financial impact of COVID-19, including a £320 million support package specifically aimed at the tourism and hospitality sector.

“As the industry re-opens with physical distancing measures, we want to enable businesses to take steps to provide a safe and pleasant environment for customers.

“Local authorities are responsible for planning and we are already encouraging them to facilitate the use of open outdoor spaces which pubs and restaurants can use.  We have also issued guidance to local licensing boards about how to sensitively and pragmatically deal with requests to use outdoor space for the sale of alcohol.

“Relaxing planning controls on a temporary basis will give even more flexibility to allow businesses to operate, and for some normality to return to life within our communities.”