Supporting hospitality businesses

Update on outdoor structures: 30 April 2021

With the cautious easing of restrictions, it is great to see so many local pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants back in business. Outdoor facilities have been key to this return.

Many hospitality businesses have created outdoor seating areas and erected marquees to accommodate their customers and we are pleased that our local businesses are complying with the Government’s COVID guidance for the safety of their customers and employees.

We would like to make you aware of further updates in your reopening journey.

Outside structures

  • We informed you some weeks ago that most outside structures, even if they are temporary, will require planning permission as commercial properties do not benefit from the same permitted development rights as homes 
  • To support our local businesses, we have refrained from taking enforcement action on outside eating/drink area          structures since March 2020. We told you that we this amnesty would be maintained until 30 August 2021.                  However, this amnesty has now been extended to 1 January 2022 in order to further support our hospitality    businesses.
  • Please remember that these structures are ‘outside’ structures, which means if they comply with the smoke free  regulations, then it will comply with the COVID requirements. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls always open. The purpose is to to ensure good ventilation through the structure / area. Guidance is available on this should you have any queries. 

  • If you would like to retain any of these structures after this date you will need to apply for retrospective planning  permission. If you are thinking of building a structure this year and would like some advice, please contact            tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk with the site address, brief details of your proposal and a contact telephone number

The Noise code: 

  • While we all adjust to the easing of restrictions patience and respect is needed. We are asking businesses to respect their neighbours and to ask their customers to do so too and for those living around bars and restaurants, we ask for your patience while hospitality businesses manage their re-opening.

We wish you well for your business reopening. We are available to you should you have any questions.

Elmbridge Borough Council

10 April 2021

We know COVID restrictions and repeated lockdowns have taken their toll on our local businesses, especially our hospitality businesses.  With the Government’s roadmap to the easing of restrictions, we all have hope that ‘normal’ life can hopefully restart this year. At Elmbridge Borough Council, we want to support you through the possible re-opening and help you re-open safely and within COVID guidelines.

Currently, we don’t have the detailed guidance from Government on step 2 of the roadmap, starting no earlier than April 12, but we know many of you are preparing outside spaces to accommodate the rule of 6 or two households for outdoor hospitality. We want to ensure any outdoor structures are fully compliant with health regulations, as well as COVID rules when we get them. Our concern is that you don’t spend money unnecessarily on structures and outdoor seating before ensuring you have all the information you need.

We really recommend you keep an eye on the Government website for updates on how to make your workplace COVID-secure, and also consider the following:

  • Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways.
     
  • Information for businesses including testing and test and trace
     
  • Planning: Most outside structures, even if they are temporary will require planning permission, this is because commercial properties do not benefit from the same permitted development rights than homes do. To support our local businesses in this difficult time, we have refrained from taking enforcement action on outside eating/drink area structures since March 2020 and we propose to maintain this amnesty until 30 August 2021.
      
    If you would like to retain any of these structures after this date you will need to apply for retrospective planning permission. If you are thinking of building a structure this spring and would like some advice, please contact tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk with the site address, brief details of your proposal and a contact telephone number.
     
  • The Noise code will help you consider how to avoid noise disturbance being caused by your business. Even when the stay at home restrictions start to be lifted, many people are remaining at home more than they usually would for a variety of reasons including for work or simply limiting how much they go out.
      
    With this in mind, and as we start to use outdoor spaces more, we would continue to urge businesses to act thoughtfully and considerately towards their neighbours. We would encourage you to think about how noise from your premises could be causing problems and upset to others and how any new activities may impact on those around you.

    If you require information or specific advice on how to control noise, please contact the Pollution Team, email: envheatlh@elmbridge.gov.uk or The Noise code page.
      
  • Licensed Premises - the Licensing team would suggest businesses consider the following as part of the re-opening process:
    • Check the plan attached to their licence document to see if they are covered to sell (not serve) alcohol outside. If not contact licensing@elmbridge.gov.uk
    • If the DPS has changed contact licensing@elmbridge.gov.uk
    • Be aware of any licence conditions about the use of outside areas as these will still apply
    • Make sure you have measures in place to mitigate noise or nuisance
    • Check you have paid your annual fee and that your licence is not suspended

Licence holders can check licence conditions (if not known) by searching our online licensing system.

As soon as we have further information from Government on step 2, we will be in contact again to further support you on your re-opening journey.

If you have any specific questions, please email  envheatlh@elmbridge.gov.uk or licensing@elmbridge.gov.uk and we will do our best to help.

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