"It is vitally important that councils retain oversight of the activities allowed in their local areas so that they can manage different interests, including the need to contain COVID-19, accessibility issues, the interests of local residents and any competing demands between different businesses."
Responding to today’s government announcement that new laws and a simplified licensing and planning process will be introduced in a Business and Planning Bill to support the reopening of pubs, restaurants and cafes, which aims to make it easier for people to safely drink and dine outside, the Local Government Association’s Economy spokesman, Cllr David Renard, said:
“Councils up and down the country have already been working hard to look at the measures that can be put in place to help hospitality businesses get up and running again in the coming months, including relaxing requirements and considering how town centres can be used differently to enable businesses to operate outside. This new Bill will help ensure a consistent approach can be taken so businesses can reopen as soon as they can and people can get back to enjoying their high streets safely.
“It is vitally important that councils retain oversight of the activities allowed in their local areas so that they can manage different interests, including the need to contain COVID-19, accessibility issues, the interests of local residents and any competing demands between different businesses.
“Councils need to be able to refuse requests where these cannot be managed safely, and to be able to take action if any issues arise following reopening. The relaxation of these rules will require individual business owners, trade groups and the police to work together alongside responsible behaviour by customers. The full responsibility, and cost, for making this work successfully does not sit with local authorities alone.
“Councils will need to process a potentially large number of applications in a short period of time so will also need clear and comprehensive guidance from government.
“It is right that these relaxations should only be temporary measures. However, the LGA has long urged the Government to undertake a comprehensive review of outdated licensing legislation to bring it into the 21st century and make it easier for businesses and councils alike. We urge government to work with us to do so once the proposed relaxations have ended.”