In new announcements from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the 11th November, the Communities Secretary has taken powers to restrict the demolition of cultural venues, closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, and has made extensions to permissions granted to support businesses including allowing outdoor markets and fairs to take place without planning permission.

The measures introduced have been set out by the MHCLG as follows:

  • Helping to protect England’s cultural institutions by protecting theatres, concert halls and live music venues from demolition. 'These buildings cannot be easily replaced and are an intrinsic part of our cultural heritage, which is why the government is clear that temporary social distancing restrictions should not be an excuse for them to be permanently lost'.
  • The government has amended the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development (England) Order 2015 (S.I. 2015/596) to remove permitted development rights for demolition of theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues. Planning permission is now required to demolish these venues.
  • The permission that doubles the length of time temporary structures can be placed on land without needing an application for planning permission has been extended to 31 December 2021. This makes it easier to host outdoor market stalls, marquees, car boot sales and fairs for longer without needing a planning application
  • Extending temporary measures enabling emergency development by councils and health service bodies from 31 December 2020 to 31 December 2021. This allows for buildings such as Nightingale hospitals
  • Amending the right for emergency development by the Crown to allow for one year instead of the current 6 months and creating a new right for one year specifically in the case of a pandemic. This is currently being used to create additional capacity at Courts to enable social distancing and is supporting new test and trace facilities
  • We also intend to roll-forward temporary changes that we made over the summer to ensure the planning system continues to operate effectively during the COVID-19 emergency and to support economic recovery. These include temporary freedoms on how planning applications are publicised, and on public inspection of planning documents
  • The automatic permission for pubs, restaurants and cafes to provide food takeaways is extended until 23 March 2022
  • Measures enabling emergency building such as Nightingale hospitals have also been extended.
  • Introducing minimum space standards for all homes delivered through Permitted Development Rights. All new homes in England delivered through these rights will have to meet the Nationally Described Space Standard once the amendment comes into force from 6 April 2021, ensuring they provide proper living space