Brussels has refused to hand over new areas of the town center to the catering sector. The city administration wants to bring back a commercial mix, which is under threat due to the number of cafés and snack bars. This is according to the Councilor for Economic Affairs Marion Lemsre (Reformist Movement). Businesses that want to redirect must first obtain a permit from the Trade division, which is transmitted to the Town Planning division. This division then makes the final decision based on several criteria, notably architecture.
Over the last few weeks, potential catering businesses have had little chance of getting their project off the ground.
Councilor Marion Lemesre explained her policy on the radio station FM Brussel on Monday. The temporary freeze affects the Unesco zone around the Grande Place and the Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Jacques neighbourhoods. In the latter, it’s the residents and businesses themselves who put in the request not to allow any more establishments.
“It’s not an absolute ban”, explains Ruth Lemmens, from the Lemsre cabinet. “We don’t want to stop the catering trade, but manage it better. That’s why we ask entrepreneurs to find a building that already houses a catering business”. The town is afraid that new businesses will go bankrupt after a few months and be replaced by yet another snack bar.