Every pub and restaurant will be allowed to erect a marquee WITHOUT planning permission

Pubs and venues will be permitted to put up gazebos and marquees without planning permission from April 12.

Councils have also been ordered to let bars and restaurants allow the move when outdoor serving return.

It is part of a new £56 million “Welcome Back” fund which aims to help England’s high streets and coastal towns safely reopen as coronavirus restrictions are eased ahead of the summer.

The funding will allow councils to boost the “look and feel” of local areas and through improved green spaces, more outdoor seating areas as well as markets and pop-up food stalls.

Among a package of measures unveiled by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, pubs will also be permitted to erect marquees in gardens for the whole summer.

Pubs and restaurants, including premises in listed buildings, will be given the flexibility to provide more outdoor space for customers for the whole summer rather than the current 28 days permitted.

Some 70 councils will also receive “targeted, hands-on support” from the Government’s High Streets Task Force, described as “an elite team of high street experts who will advise them on how to adapt to meet changing consumer demands so they can thrive in the years ahead”.

Caps on private parking fines will also be introduced to clamp down on “cowboy parking firms, and give drivers confidence when visiting towns.

Part of the funding pot will be specifically allocated for coastal areas, with all English seaside resorts to receive support, under the Government’s plans to help holidaymakers this year.

Under its road map out of England’s coronavirus restrictions, and subject to the ongoing assessment of coronavirus data, the Government aims to lift its “stay at home” order from March 29, with further gradual easing to follow.

Outdoor attractions, non-essential retail and some holiday lets could re-open after April 12 and most social contact restrictions could be lifted from June 21.

Mr Jenrick said: “As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

“Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.

“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.”

Under the Government’s response to the Parking Code Framework consultation, it will “curb unfair tickets and tackle cowboy parking firms” through a simplified appeals process, as well as caps on private parking fines being introduced.

Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed said: “This is just a drop in the ocean compared to how much the Conservatives took away over a decade when they pushed our high streets and seaside towns into deep decline, and it’s not clear which areas will benefit.

“The Conservatives have done nothing to level the playing field between high street shops and online retailers. Now they want to hollow high streets out by selling off temporarily closed shops to wealthy developers so they can never reopen as shops again.”

The Westmorland Gazette | North Lancs