Date issued: 17 June 2020
Colchester Borough Council is introducing a new planning process for temporary buildings, structures and changes of use, to help businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
The changes are intended to make it easier for firms to accommodate more physical space to adhere to social distancing rules – including placing more tables and chairs outside bars and cafes.
Mike Lilley, Portfolio Holder Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “Temporary buildings and structures can form part of the council’s recovery strategy to help Colchester businesses recover as quickly as possible from the current trading restrictions.
“If this allows a venue to increase outside seating and allow more customers whilst maintaining social distancing, this must be a good thing. Another example might be a temporary shelter, so people can queue without getting too hot or wet. The council firmly believes that Colchester can deliver a strong recovery, and we will do everything we can to facilitate this.”
The council has worked with key stakeholders to address the challenges that the pandemic has had on local businesses and organisations and this action is one way of supporting them.
Ordinarily, new buildings and structures need planning permission. The temporary rules will mean existing businesses and organisations in the town will be able to create temporary buildings or structures without needing planning permission. These temporary rules are set to end on 1 December 2020.
David King, Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, explained: “We are determined to give all the help we can to businesses, as they emerge from the lockdown, including more physical space to accommodate social distancing and help make it profitable enough to open. This will help jobs, recovery, and offer the best possible experience to residents and visitors as they return to the town.”
Businesses will be required to submit details to the council for approval, but this is expected to take just a few days and will not involve a fee. There may be other permissions that are required, however, and more information on the changes can be found on the council’s website HERE.