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Scotland to ease planning laws around outside seating

Home » News » Scotland to ease planning laws around outside seating

Fish and chip shops in Scotland will be able to place tables and chairs on the pavement outside their premises without submitting a planning application under measures expected to come into force next month.

Regulations to implement the changes, aimed at helping Scotland’s town and city centre businesses thrive, were laid in the Scottish Parliament on Friday 10th February for approval by MSPs.

The move follows a 12-week consultation in which strong support was expressed for the extension of permitted development rights to enable more cafés, bars and restaurants to offer outdoor eating and drinking.

Councils will still retain powers to prevent and deal with obstructions that make it difficult for people to access pavements safely and effectively, for example people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments, or families with children in pushchairs.

The consultation also backed the relaxation of planning rules for the conversion of certain premises into cafes, restaurants, or small-scale offices.

Planning Minister Tom Arthur said: “More flexible use of outdoor space can help the hospitality industry recover from the pandemic and cost crisis, while making city and town centres more attractive and welcoming. The important safeguards for councils seek to ensure that no one should be prevented from using pavements and visiting town and city centres safely. A more streamlined approach to changes of use can help businesses respond more rapidly to shifting circumstances, support reuse of vacant premises and encourage the return of workers and shoppers to our town and city centres.”

If approved, the regulations could come into force by 31st March 2023.

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