THE SCOTTISH Government has announced that hospitality businesses will be able to place tables and chairs outside their premises without a planning application. They have also backed the relaxation of planning rules for conversions of certain premises into some hospitality venues.
Business leaders have welcomed the relaxation of the rules – which is likely to be approved by MSPs – with the Scottish Retail Consortium saying it could “give people a little more reason to spend time and money on our high streets”.
Other measures likely from March 31 include a relaxation of planning rules for converting some properties into cafes, restaurants or small-scale offices, along with measures to make the installation of larger electric-vehicle charging equipment in car parks easier.
But councils will retain powers to prevent and deal with obstructions which make it difficult for people such as wheelchair users or families with young children in pushchairs to access pavements safely.
Responding to this announcement, UKHospitality Executive Director Leon Thompson said: “This news will be a significant boost for Scottish hospitality businesses who are keen to offer customers the best experience possible but have often been held back by restrictive planning regulations.
“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government has agreed with UKHospitality Scotland that moving ahead with these measures will aid the sector’s recovery and also contribute to thriving town and city centres.
“With businesses being asked to jump through more and more regulatory hoops, this is a perfect example of the Scottish Government listening to businesses and making their lives easier.
“This move also shows our shared agenda with the Scottish Government. Hospitality businesses are key to revitalising city centres and communities around the country by attracting customers and creating good jobs.”