Planning rules may be eased on seating and EV chargers
Rules could be eased around outdoor restaurant seating, electric vehicle charging and converting buildings to other uses.
The Scottish Government is consulting on measures that would save applicants the time and expense of applying for planning permission for these types of activity.
Ministers have acknowledged “changing circumstances” through the pandemic and the transition in energy use which have prompted calls for greater flexibility.
It may mean outdoor restaurant seating and the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in car parks or at filling stations could be permitted without a planning application.
The government is also looking to allow a wider variety of changes of use for premises and permitting conversion of buildings to small workspaces to support local innovation and entrepreneurship.
Planning Minister Tom Arthur said: “The pandemic has highlighted that use of outdoor spaces can help bolster our hospitality industry and make city, town and local centres feel more welcoming and vibrant.
“I encourage local businesses and communities to submit their views on these proposals to relax planning requirements.
“Proposals to support the extension of the charging network reflect the significant growth in electric vehicle ownership forecasted for the coming years and the vital role of electric vehicle owners in helping Scotland reach net zero by 2045.”
UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson said: “Over the course of the pandemic hospitality businesses made great use of outdoor space, allowing them to trade whilst keeping customers and workers safe.
“Outdoor seating is extremely popular with guests and these often imaginative and creative spaces continue to be used extensively.
“UKHospitality Scotland is pleased that the Scottish Government has listened to our calls and is putting forward plans to relax planning requirements.
“This will save businesses time and money, whilst adding to the vibrancy of our towns and cities. This move will also help to boost local economies and create jobs.”