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Pubs, cafes, restaurants and historic visitor attractions have the permanent right to erect moveable structures such as marquees and gazebos. Offering the ability to host guests outside but with shelter in case of bad weather, operators of licensed premises will want to utilise this new freedom, especially in the summer and during sporting events.

The law enables premises to have one moveable structure erected on their own land for an unlimited number days without the need for a planning application, helping them to better make use of their outside space all year round. This is subject to additional measures which will apply to all moveable structures to minimise impacts on surrounding communities, including:

  • A height limit of 3 metres
  • A 2 metre boundary buffer where next to a residential development
  • A size threshold of no more than 50% of the existing footprint of the premises on site or 50 square metres, whichever is the lesser.

Historic visitor attractions and hospitality businesses operating in listed buildings will be able to install one moveable structure for 120 days in a 12-month period, subject to prior approval from the local planning authority. Again, the one moveable structure will be subject to the same additional measures as above.

These regulations came into force on 2 January 2022.

In addition, the Licensing Act 2003 regime will apply to all licensed premises, and the environmental health statutory nuisance regime will apply to all premises. This provides effective mitigation and avenue of redress for local residents against harm to local amenity from noise or public nuisance. For example, local licensing authorities can attach conditions or terminal hours to outdoors use.

You are, however, reminded that if you wish to erect an outside moveable structure from which you wish to sell alcohol from, then licensing permission may be required to authorise the sale of alcohol.

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