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Changes in Response to Covid-19

Consultation on permitted development rights

Yesterday (5 September), the government launched a consultation on the temporary measures that have helped high streets and hospitality during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The government is aiming to make a number of the permitted development rights (PDRs) introduced during the COVID-19 outbreak permanent so that people can continue to enjoy outdoor hospitality and local attractions. the government are now consulting on including the right for markets to be held by or on behalf of local councils and the right for moveable structures in the grounds of pubs, cafes, restaurants and historic visitor attractions.

The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 14 November.

Temporary Changes of Use and Temporary Structures

The provisions to allow an additional temporary use of land continue in 2021. This means that businesses can operate on land for up to 56 days in 2021. 

This provision also allows moveable structures such as tables/chairs and marquees to be used. This provision now also includes land within the curtilage of a listed building, however nothing should be attached to any listed building or wall and the structures must remain moveable. 

Businesses should be aware that a pavement licence is also required for use of the highway or footway.  Further information can be found here:

Support for businesses to re-open and trade safely

Hertfordshire’s Better Business for All partnership has produced guides, checklists and templates as part of a toolkit to support businesses to  complete their Covid19 risk assessment and put new processes and procedures in place to support them to  re-open and trade safely.

Explore the online guidance  and for further advice and support contact your local Environmental Health team (number available on your district/borough council website) or Hertfordshire Trading Standards Business Advice Line: 01707 281401 open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm,

Temporary Change of Use from Pub/Restaurant/Cafe to a Take-away

The measures will apply to hot food and drinks. Serving of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.  If serving hot food and drink between 23:00hrs and 5:00am you will need a premises licence that permits late night refreshment.

You should comply with food hygiene rules:

The government has introduced a new permitted development right to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 - drinking establishment) or a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away. But, you must tell the planning team you plan to run as a takeaway before you start the business – see below. The new legislation now allows businesses to run in this way until the 23 March 2022. The new use must stop before this date.

If you want to run beyond this date, you must submit a planning application. You must propose to carry on using the premises as a takeaway, well in advance of 23 March 2022.

Unfortunately, if you are not currently operating as a lawful pub, restaurant or café, you cannot use this change.

You must apply for planning permission as usual. As well as this, there may be conditions attached to previous planning permissions. These may either restrict or stop you using these rights.

Changes to Planning Law regarding the use of land and buildings

Planning law puts uses of land and buildings into various categories known as 'Use Classes'. Planning permission may be needed for the use of the building or premises including converting a home into a shop or to convert business premises or residential buildings into other uses.

Changes have been made to the rules relating to uses and with effect from 1 September 2020, existing Classes A1 (shops), A2 (professional services), A3 (cafes and restaurants), B1 (offices, light industrial and research and development) and D1 (clinics, health centres, creches, day nurseries, day centres) have been combined to form a new Class E, entitled ‘Commercial, Business and Service’.

The new Class E encompasses uses such as retail shops, hairdressers, estate agents, coffee bars, cafes, restaurants, B1 business, doctors, dentists, gyms, creches/day nurseries and more. Changes from one of these uses to another falling within the same use class would now not require permission.

It should be noted that Class E does not include pubs or takeaways - planning permission is still required to change to/from these. Also, it does not include a permitted development right for any external alterations, ducts, grilles, vents, plant etc - planning permission will still be required for these in the normal way.

The Use Classes Order can be accessed through the Planning Portal which can be found here:

Telling us about a Temporary Change of Use in response to Covid-19

Businesses are required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends. Should you wish to operate as a hot-food takeaway for a limited period please notify us by email to

When reporting via email, please provide the following information:

  • Business Name and Address
  • Key Contact Information for Business Operator including email address and contact number
  • First date Hot Food Takeaway or Shop use began

Please note that you should comply with food hygiene rules.

Your details will be held by the Planning Department for the purposes of ensuring compliance with planning law.

Please see privacy notice. This information may also be shared with the Council’s Licensing Department to ensure compliance with this legislation also. We will confirm acknowledgement of your notification by email. This will advise you of the expiry date for the takeaway operation. You will be contacted again around the time of the expiry date to remind you of the need to end this activity unless an application for a permanent change of use is received.

Other Guidance Toggle accordion

Further guidance for food businesses can be found at:

Details of the food hygiene ratings for businesses can be found at:

The following businesses have registered a change of use with us:

Business Name

Business Address

Bar Azita

Station Road - Harpenden

Bar Meze

8 Adelaide Street

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

16 Abbey Mill Lane

Portland Arms

Portland Street AL3 4RA

Great Northern

172 London Road

Lower Red Lion

Fishpool Street

The Boot


The Kings Arms/Dylans

7 George Street

The Plough


Per Tutti30 Holywell Hill
The Mermaid98 Hatfield Road
Souvlaki City203 Hatfield Road
LussmansWaxhouse Gate
Six Bells16-18 St Michaels
Pasta Cibo restaurant2 Harding Parade
Thai Rack13 George Street
AYOs2 Beaconsfield Road
White Hart Tap4 Keyfield Terrace
Havin Turkish Kitchen13 High Street
Inn on the ParkVerulamiam Park