Pavement licensing is to be made permanent under plans announced in the 2022 Queen's speech. The proposed Levelling up and Regeneration Bill "will provide local leaders with the powers they need to revitalise town centres."
The Government said:
"During the pandemic, restaurants, pubs and bars were granted temporary powers to serve guests on pavements, helping to mitigate lost floorspace for tables due to social distancing requirements.
"Through new legislation, these powers will be made permanent to expand capacity for businesses to boost local economies and inject life into local communities."
Clause 184 of the Bill introduce provisions for making pavement licensing permanent. Schedule 17 amends the Business and Planning Act 2020 including introducing a "relevant amount" of £350 for existing consents and £500 for new applications.
Councils will also be given greater powers to take control of buildings for the benefit of their communities, transforming boarded up shops or derelict buildings into thriving businesses, shared community spaces or housing.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said:
“High streets up and down the country have long been blighted by derelict shopfronts, because they’ve been neglected, stripping opportunity from local areas.
“We are putting that right by placing power back in the hands of local leaders and the community so our towns can be rejuvenated, levelling up opportunity and restoring neighbourhood pride.”
The number of empty shopfronts has soared to 1 in 7 according to the British Retail Consortium, rising to 1 in 5 in the north east, with boarded up and derelict shops blighting highstreets and sapping the life from once bustling town centres. New Compulsory Rental Auctions will ensure that landlords auction shops that have been vacant for over a year to prospective tenants, putting buildings to good use.
The move will create opportunities for new businesses and community groups, paving the way for new jobs to boost employment, strengthening local economies and restoring local pride.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said:
“By empowering local communities to rent out shops which have been sat empty for a year or longer, we will end the scourge of boarded up shops that have blighted some of our great towns across the country for far too long.
“These measures will breathe new life into high streets, transforming once-bustling communities into vibrant places to live and work once again and restoring local pride as we level up across the country.”
The Levelling up and Regeneration Bill follows publication of the government’s flagship Levelling Up White Paper which set out plans to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it.
The UK Government is also providing £1.7bn of temporary business rates relief in 2022-23 for up to 400,000 retail, hospitality and leisure properties to support the high street.
The High Streets Task Force will continue to support communities to regenerate their high streets to reflect evolving local needs. It is already supporting 84 local authorities with access to expert support in areas such as placemaking, planning and design.