Restaurants demand planning revamp to overcome red tape halting unit expansion

UKHospitality has held the government to account and called for an updated approach to planning that supports and encourages the growth and stability of hospitality venues.

In its submission to the National Planning Policy consultation, the UK trade body made a series of recommendations aimed at boosting hospitality businesses.

It has suggested that the government offers full support for the inclusion of the ‘Agent of Change’ principle in the English planning regime and an extension to all other planning jurisdictions in the UK.

It has also recommended that any future planning policy should include a focus area on supporting tourism, building on the Good Practice Guide on Planning for Tourism developed by DCLG and the industry.

Additionally, the organisation has demanded increased speed and flexibility in the planning process itself, to allow existing businesses to evolve and expand their sites. That has notoriously been a challenge for multi-site restaurant operations.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Nightclubs, bars, restaurants and the wider hospitality sector have an opportunity to stimulate growth around the UK and revitalise town and city centres. Too often, however, we see planning restrictions in place that prevent businesses from achieving their true potential and local areas miss out and suffer as a result.

“We have taken this opportunity to highlight the potential of the sector to the government and shown exactly what can be done to free businesses from legislative restrictions to the benefit of communities.

“Chief among these is the UK-wide introduction of the agent of change principal. The Mayor of London has already acknowledged the benefits presented by the scheme and it is time the Government introduced it, along with other similar positive action, on a national scale.”

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