Fast-track approval for outside drinking and eating approved

Robyn Black

Robyn Black

23 July 2020

Those behind the #UKGrandOutdoorCafe campaign have hailed the move a success

The government has passed the Business and Planning Act 2020 legislation, which sets up a fast-track approval for restaurants and bars to set up tables and chairs in spaces outside of their premises.

In addition, the usual 28-day consultation period, that permits restaurants, bars and pubs with alcohol licenses to sell drinks for the public to take away will be dropped to seven days, followed by a seven-day determination period. This means approval would be granted within two weeks and the application fees are capped at £100.

The #UKGrandOutdoorCafe campaign was launched in May by Alan Lorrimer, founder of The Piano Works, as reported on Its aim was to promote the adoption of seating on pavements, squares and open spaces outside of restaurants and bars in the UK in order to create spaces for alfresco dining, whilst allowing people to adhere to physical distancing.

More than 150 restaurant, pub, bar and café operators pledged their support, alongside industry bodies including UKHospitality and the Night Time Industries Association.

Tristan Moffat, operations director at The Piano Works said: ‘When we first proposed the #UKGrandOutdoorCafe, it seemed like a pipe dream. Two months later, here we are! We are beyond delighted and excited that the government has allowed the campaign to become a reality.’

The campaign’s focus has now moved onto driving footfall to newly re-opened venues and to fundraising for food and drink vouchers for NHS and frontline staff to use in the on-trade. Booking platform Design My Night and tech marketing companies Eagle Eye Solutions and Wireless Social have already signed up.

Individual donations can also be made via:

‘Please do show your support by donating to the campaign directly or buy a voucher for yourself or a loved one to be used at one of our participating operators across the UK with a small added donation of £2.50. This will thank them with complimentary food and drink vouchers at the #UKGrandOutdoorCafe,’ said Moffat.

Related content


Brexit fails to slow eating and drinking out sales

Consumers have continued to spend on eating and drinking out, despite the financial fallout from June's Brexit vote, according to the latest figures f


Opinion: The View From Outside

It's been a while since I wrote anything for the Imbibe site.It's a wonder they haven't come and beaten my door down, what with the relentless deluge

News |  Wine

Christmas serves: Bartenders, sommeliers and beer experts on what they're drinking and eating this festive season

From no-abv egg nog, to Sri Lankan feasts – and plenty inbetween – here's what some of our industry's Christmas' will taste like

News |  Wine

Drinking 'less but better' slows still wine imports

Drinking less but drinking better will result in UK still wine imports dropping 3.5 million cases by 2020.IWSR bods have calculated still wine imports