Welsh Government Covid rules on pop-up campsites and al-fresco dining could become permanent

Welsh Covid rule changes made during the pandemic could become permanent under proposals being put forward.

Welsh Government ministers eased planning regulations in various areas in a bid to support businesses in tourism, hospitality, retail and construction over the Covid-19 crisis.

It made it easier to do things like outdoor drinking and eating and also pop-up campsites.

These were all temporary measures and many are due to end in January.

But the Government has now launched a consultation about retaining some of the changes to support economic growth.

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Permitted development allowed an additional 28 days for temporary uses such as pop-up campsites – in addition to the normal 28 days per year.

These permitted development rights have been used to provide a variety of uses including campsites, festivals, fairs, weddings, markets and other leisure uses.

Proposal: Should the additional days granted by Class A of Part 4A be retained permanently, permitting temporary uses to take place for up to 56 days(28 days for specified uses) in a calendar year?

What Welsh Government said: “Extending the time allowed for temporary uses of land has provided a valuable boost, supporting economic recovery in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors.

“With restrictions upon foreign travel, the temporary permitted development rights have been particularly beneficial in enabling the provision of additional capacity for campsites and broaden the range of tourist provision available to cater for the increase in ‘staycations’.

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“The Welsh Government are aware of instances where planning impacts have arisen as a result of some temporary uses.

“However, there is a fine balance between the potential adverse impacts arising from such uses, which are mitigated due to the temporary nature of the uses, and the wider economic benefits.

“The Welsh Government want to understand the benefits of retaining the additional days for temporary uses to take place and gain a better understanding of the impacts. View are also sought on proposed mitigation if they were to be made permanent.”

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Prior to the pandemic, planning rules provided for the temporary use of land (excluding buildings) for use as a market for 14 days but this was extended to 28 for the private and third sector. Local authorities were given an unlimited period for the purpose of holding a market. The rules are due to end in January.

Proposal: Should the number of days for holding a market generally be extended? If Yes, what is an acceptable number of days for holding a market? What conditions should apply to manage the planning impacts?

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In light of the significant pressures to town centre uses, the Welsh Government introduced new permitted development rights for changes of use within town centres to give landlords and businesses a small amount of breathing space to trial changes of use to uses of similar planning impacts for a short time.

For example, this meant a shop could become a cafe without having to go through the usual processes.

Currently, changes of use are permitted for a six month period beginning with the date on which the development began and must end on or before 29 April 2022, unless planning permission is granted for the retention of the use.

Proposal: It is proposed to make the temporary changes of use permanent. The six month trial period would be removed, allowing the changes of use to be retained in perpetuity.

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Temporary permitted development rights were introduced in April to support the hospitality industry. Welsh Government advised that a flexible approach should be maintained where businesses seek to utilise their curtilage for the provision of food and drink, including the erection of temporary structures. This was to allow more al-fresco eating and drinking to both help create more trading space and place guests in more Covid safe outdoor environments.

This will end on January 3 2022.

It is proposed to remove the ‘sunset clause’, to continue to allow the use of land adjacent to hospitality uses for the purposes of selling or serving food or drink supplied from those premises or consuming food or drink supplied from those premises without the need for planning permission.

They also propose the erection of retractable awnings over the frontage of premises without planning.


The online consultation response form is on the following link: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/5RJZZK/.

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