Planning Portal

DCAN 4: Restaurants, Cafes and Fast Food Outlets
3.0 Need for planning permission and other consents

3.1 The circumstances in which planning permission for the development of land are needed are set out in Articles 11 and 12 of the 1991 Planning Order. Planning permission for a restaurant, café or fast food outlet will generally be required in the following cases:
  • the erection of a building for use as a restaurant, café or fast food outlet;
  • a material change of use of premises used for any other purpose e.g. from an office to a restaurant;
  • the extension of premises currently in use as a restaurant, café or fast food outlet;
  • any alteration to a building which has a material effect on its external appearance e.g. a replacement shopfront or the installation of external shutters;
  • the variation or discharge of a condition or conditions attached to a previous grant of planning permission e.g. changes to an opening hours condition.
3.2 A person applying for planning permission in any of the circumstances referred to in para 3.1 should recognise that any future extension of the use or extension of the premises is likely to be subject to further planning applications which will be judged on their merits.
3.3 In addition to the categories above where planning permission is normally required, there are other circumstances in relation to proposals for restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets, where the need for planning permission is a matter of fact and degree. These are referred to below, and include mobile hot food vehicles and hot food sales from shops.

Mobile hot food vehicles

3.4 The casual or temporary parking of a mobile hot food vehicle, whether it be in a street or main road, or on any other land is not likely to be development i.e. a material change of use, and is therefore not likely to need planning permission. However, the regular parking of such a vehicle for long periods may create a material change in the land on which it is stationed. Permitted development rights granted by the Planning (General Development) Order 1993, Part 4 – Temporary Buildings and Uses, Class B, relates to ‘the use of any land for any purpose for not more than 28 days in total in any calendar year… and the provision on the land of any moveable structure for the purposes of the permitted use’. Therefore, if a mobile food vehicle is parked for more than 28 days it ceases to be regarded as temporary, and planning permission may be required.

Hot food sales from shops

3.5 Hot food sales from shops will require planning permission only if excluded by a planning condition or if beyond an ancillary level. Primary uses of land often embrace one or more ancillary activities i.e. uses which are closely linked and subservient to them. As discussed in paragraph 1.12, any test for whether a use is ancillary to another is a matter of fact and degree, and each case has to be determined on its particular merits.

Delivery services

3.6 Delivery services per se may not require planning permission unless at a level where they dominate the existing restaurant or café use.

‘Alfresco’ eating

3.7 Planning permission is not likely to be required where it is proposed to place tables and chairs on the forecourt or any open land within the curtilage of a restaurant, where that land forms part of a planning unit. It may, however, be necessary to obtain licences from other authorities.
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