The Brussels-Capital Region will allow outdoor cafés on car parks until the end of 2022, which had been proposed by State Secretary for Urban Planning, Pascal Smet. The region’s government has approved Smet’s proposal to simplify the regulations on catering terraces. According to the Brussels Times, the approved guidelines are valid for the years 2021 and 2022.
Because there is no place better than a terrace and because we want to encourage people to meet outdoors this summer, we authorize the conversion of parking places to terraces until the end of 2022Pascal Smet, State Secretary for Urban Planning
Flexible, modular, multifunctional and movable terraces will not require a planning permit, as long as they provide a free passage of at least 1.50 m. Terrace furniture can be stored outside if it is placed together and secured.
Often, pavements do not have enough space for a terrace, while bars and restaurants can already host fewer people indoors due to the crisis, which also makes them less profitable. The aim is to support the sector reopening and to stimulate the relaunch of the economy by offering more people the possibility to enjoy a drink on a terrace together.
By simplifying, harmonizing and limiting the regulations, the Brussels Government wants to offer as many bars and restaurants as possible the opportunity to install a terrace. Concretely, this can be done by converting parking places into a terrace. A planning permit will no longer be required for this, but there will be some rules to follow.
The Region takes its responsibility as facilitator by supporting the bars and restaurants, which are hit hardly by the crisis. Terraces will play an essential role in the revival of the sectorBarbara Trachte, State Secretary for Economic Transition
They must be seasonal, which means they have to be used between 1 April and 31 October and/or during the holiday season. They must also be taken down once a year and their floor can only occupy the existing parking places. In order to avoid a height difference with the sidewalk, the floor height must be limited. In addition, any partition cannot be higher than 80 cm and the terrace must be entirely open at the sidewalk side. The surface cannot exceed 50 m² and, finally, it must be easy to dismantle the terrace for works. If these conditions are met, the terrace can be installed until December 2022.
These conditions do not apply to protected sites, but a planning permit can be obtained for these sites. The catering license, delivered by the municipalities, is still required. This also counts for the regional permit, issued by Brussels Mobility, for the use of a regional road.
Currently, some terraces do not have the correct authorizations. The Brussels Government underlines that a prior planning permit is required for the terraces that do not meet the conditions of the decree. Some conditions have been established.
With regard to the terrace floor:
- Provide non-exotic wood;
- Limit the terrace height to the strict minimum in order to avoid a height difference with the pavement;
- Fix the glass panels by using a plinth edge with a maximum height of 20 cm;
- No fixed planters can be installed;
- No continuous benches can be installed;
- Level the terrace height, taking into account the surrounding slope.
With regard to the partitions:
- Limit the glass partition height to 80 cm;
- No fixed covering;
- Provide a modularity of maximum 120 cm for the panel width;
- No use of colors and paint;
- Subtle engraving, if desired, directly on the glass;
- Open the terrace at the sidewalk side.