Great Britain

Thousands more pubs will be able to open on April 12 as outdoor boozing and planning rules are eased

THOUSANDS more pubs will be able to open tomorrow after ministers tore up rules so gazebos and marquees can go up without planning permission.

Town halls have also been ordered to let bars and restaurants spill out on to pavements for a booming al-fresco food and booze fest from April 12.

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Whitehall figures suggest the bonfire of red tape will allow 9,000 additional venues to open rather than having to wait for indoor serving in May.

Any venue, even if it is listed, can put up a marquee or structure of any size on their land without planning permission, and keep it up till September.

Side panels will need to be open for ventilation, but paperwork is not an issue after ministers ordered councils to back down on threats to cripple the reopening with red tape.

In another major boost, venues with pavement access can put out tables and chairs for dining without having to go through the tedious public consultation process that usually takes weeks.

They can notify their town hall and carry on serving if they do not hear back in ten days.

A new £56million Welcome Back Fund has also been earmarked to help towns and cities get ready to throw open their doors.

Councils will be able to apply for cash to hold beer and food festivals in high streets to get people back to shops.

Cash will go to town halls to put up more outdoor seating and keep spaces Covid-secure.

Flowers can be planted, ­graffiti scrubbed off and cash plugged into parks to get ready for the big unlocking.

The drastic binning of rules was welcomed by the pub industry — itching to get back serving but worried about the April showers.

Greg Grundy, boss at The Egremont in Worthing, West Sussex, said the move was great news for landlords and punters.

He added: “Brits love a beer garden, but in April the weather can be a bit dodgy, so marquees and gazebos will become must-have accessories.

Greg Grundy, boss at The Egremont in Worthing, West Sussex, said the move was great news for landlords and punters.

He added: “Brits love a beer garden, but in April the weather can be a bit dodgy, so marquees and gazebos will become must-have accessories.

“Letting pubs avoid the hassle of planning red tape means it will be green lights all the way to a glorious spring and summer of al-fresco drinking.

“People are desperate to get back to their local. Our phone has been ringing off the hook since Boris announced his unlocking plans.

“Fingers crossed the Great British weather holds out!”

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “It’s good news for pubs, as we move towards the outdoor reopening, that rules around outdoor spaces will be more relaxed, particularly given the ­vagaries of the April weather.

“We would urge the Government and local councils to work with publicans to ensure as many people as possible are able to return to the Great British pub.”

And Nik Antona, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “The news that pubs will be able to put up marquees without planning permission is great.

"We’re looking forward to getting back to the pub, and hope as many people as possible will turn out to support their locals and clubs from April onwards.

"Try some local beers and ciders, and enjoy the social and wellbeing benefits of pub-going.”

But he warned: “The industry has suffered immensely over a tough year of lockdowns and restrictions, and there’s still a long way to go to ensure the pub and brewing industry get back on its feet.”

Loophole means pubs without a beer garden can still open to punters from April 12

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