The catering equipment industry could inadvertently get a shot in the arm from new proposals designed to regenerate the British high street.
Changes put forward by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles this week would allow restaurants and cafes to start up without getting the extra planning permission they usually need.
The move could be a boost to the pockets of catering equipment suppliers and installers if investors take advantage of the relaxed laws to open new restaurant ventures.
The revised rules would mean restaurants and other types of shops could open new premises without having to jump through the bureaucratic hoops associated with seeking a ‘change of use’ for the building.
Theoretically, a building that was once a shop could be converted to a restaurant or café far more easily.
Pickles said: “People looking for premises to test new business ideas and other pop up ventures will find it easier to identify sites and open quickly: new retail ventures, financial and professional services, restaurants, cafes and businesses will be able to open for up to two years in buildings designated as Al, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, Dl or D2 classes (shops, financial services, restaurants, pubs, hot food takeaways, business, non-residential institutions, leisure and assembly).”
Reaction to the proposals has been mixed so far. Some experts agree it would encourage further investment, but critics argue that many restaurant premises would find it hard to afford High Street rents in the first place.
Others suggest that a lack of capital is the biggest barrier to new restaurant openings, rather than town centre planning laws.