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Gloucestershire Business News

Councils prepare to fast-track applications

Councils in Gloucestershire are taking steps to help pubs, cafe and bars ahead of the passing of new planning legislation.

The Business and Planning Bill, which is expected to receive royal assent in the next few days, is designed to allow additional outdoor space for licensed premises.

Cheltenham Borough Council unanimously backed a proposal to allow applications for the temporary licences - which must be determined within seven days - as soon as the bill is signed into law.

And Forest of Dean District Council has agreed to waive fees for applications.

Councillor Bernie O'Neill, cabinet member for economy, said: "We are obviously keen to encourage residents to feel safe when visiting our towns and one of the ways we can do that is to add outdoor tables and chairs to support social distancing.

"Potentially this is a solid boost for our pubs, cafes and bars.

"Obviously we will still need to make sure that pavements are clear so people can safely pass by and that there is no nuisance, but we want as many places as possible to make full use of this change in legislation."

In Cheltenham, the legislation will build on temporary changes introduced in June to help businesses recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The business, licensing and night-time economy recovery plan allowed temporary buildings or structures without the need for planning permission but with a brief assessment by council officers.

At the time, council leader Councillor Steve Jordan said: "The council firmly believes that in Cheltenham we have the people, skills and local solutions to deliver a strong recovery."

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