UK

Restaurants to go al-fresco all year round under new cafe culture plan to revive ghost towns

Bars and restaurants could opt to go al-fresco all year round under a new cafe culture plan to revive ghost towns

  • New rules will give bars and restaurants the option to go al-fresco year round
  • Legislation will be brought in under June’s Levelling up and Regeneration Bill
  • Councils will also be given greater powers to take control of derelict buildings
  • Levelling Up Sec. Gove: ‘These measures will breathe new life into high streets’ 

Enjoying dinner and drinks outside was once viewed as an activity you enjoyed only on holidays in Europe.

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But outdoor cafe culture is now set to become a fixture of British life under new laws giving bars and restaurants the option to go al-fresco all year round.

The legislation – set to be brought in under the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill due to be announced next month – will extend pandemic concessions, which saw the hospitality industry allowed to serve customers on pavements.

Plans to slash red tape to make life easier for embattled high streets will also see councils given greater powers to take control of derelict buildings.

Before: New plans to slash red tape will make life easier on sparse high streets (Stoke pictured)

After: 'Compulsory rental auctions' will ensure landlords sell empty shops (London pictured)

After: ‘Compulsory rental auctions’ will ensure landlords sell empty shops (London pictured)

The move comes as the number of empty shop-fronts has soared to one in seven, rising to one in five in the North East, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Many fear boarded-up and derelict shops are blighting high streets and leading to ghost towns. New ‘compulsory rental auctions’ will ensure that landlords must sell shops that have been vacant for over a year to prospective tenants.

Boris Johnson said: ‘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 announcement is a key part of the Government’s levelling up agenda, which has also seen Ministers pledge to provide £1.7 billion of temporary business rates relief in 2022-23 for up to 400,000 retail, hospitality and leisure properties.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘These measures will breathe new life into high streets, transforming once-bustling communities into vibrant places to live and work again and restoring local pride as we level up across the country.’

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