The government’s Business and Planning Bill, which includes provision for placing furniture outside a site to sell food and drink, has passed through the House of Commons.


The Bill will now go to the House of Lords for consideration. Earlier this week, the Government published details of the Business and Planning Bill as part of its plans to help businesses trade post-lockdown.

Under the Bill, businesses will be able to apply to the appropriate local authority for a ‘pavement licence’ which allows them to put removable furniture outside their premises for the purpose of selling food and drink. The licence period is a minimum of three months, with a maximum term lasting until 31 September 2021. The Bill also contains provisions for on-trade businesses to be able to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises.

Figures from the Association of Convenience Stores 2019 Local Shop Report found that around one in 10 retailers have indoor seating areas for customers (9%) while 6% provide outdoor seating. One in four convenience stores has an in-store bakery (24%) with a similar number providing hot food to go for customers (23%).

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the swift progress of this Bill, which will provide additional flexibility for businesses looking to welcome customers to eat and drink as safely as possible. The proposed pavement licence rules are potentially a significant opportunity for many of our members who already act as community hubs.”