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Changes in Response to Covid-19

Temporary Changes of Use and Temporary Structures

These provisions allow for an additional temporary use of land. This means that businesses can operate on land for an additional 28 days between 01 July 2020 and 31 December 2020. This provision also allows moveable structures such as tables/chairs and marques to be used. 

These changes came into force on 25 June 2020. This is in addition to the original 28 day provision that was previously permitted. Full details of this legislation can be found here:

This does not include the use of a building or land within the curtilage of a listed building. 

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

Government to extend planning permission deadlines

Planning permission usually expires after three years from the date shown on the decision notice if work has not started on site. Sites with consent that have an expiry date between 23 March 2020 and the 31 December 2020 will now see their consent extended to 1 April 2021. This is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic which may have preventing building works from starting as planned.

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. Please check that your premises licence allows you to do this and also that you are covered for sales for alcohol to be consumed off the premises. 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 will introduce a time limited 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 for a period of up to 12 months only. After which the premises should change back to its authorised planning use. You should notify us of this change – see below.

Why do I need to register a take away/delivery service ?

Whilst the use was operating, the take away/delivery use would have been considered to be a secondary activity. As the main use is no longer allowed to operate for a temporary period, the secondary activity becomes the main use and therefore needs permission. If you are still unsure, please contact us for advice.

Temporary Change of Use from a Pub/Restaurant/Office to a Shop selling food or essential items (fresh produce and hygiene products)

You do not need planning permission to change the use of a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) or a high street office (A2 - professional and financial services) to a shop (A1 – shops).

We are allowing for a limited time a pub (A4 - drinking establishment) to change to a shop selling food or essential items (fresh produce and hygiene items). This temporary relaxation will last until 13th May or until the government restrictions in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 have been lifted whichever is sooner.

Any pub, restaurant or high street office who changes to a shop selling food or essential items (fresh produce and hygiene items) will receive a relaxation of the planning rules to change back to their authorised pre-covid19 planning use. The change of use back to the authorised A2 or A3 use should take place by 1st April 2021.

For these relaxations to apply, the premises should notify us (see below) prior to the change of use to a shop.

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 or a shop (selling food or essential items) 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