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Car parks make way for terraces this summer in Brussels

Photo from the office of Pascal Smet.

The Brussels-Capital Region will allow outdoor cafés on car parks until the end of 2022, according to a press release from the office of State Secretary for Urban Planning Pascal Smet.

The Brussels Government has approved Smet’s proposal to simplify the regulations on catering terraces so that restaurant owners can easily install a terrace on the parking spaces in front of their doors.

The approved guidelines are valid for the years 2021 and 2022.

“When the situation allows it soon, many Brussels residents will once again enjoy the many great cafés and restaurants in our city,” said Smet. “Our catering industry is going through an immensely difficult period and this way we provide some extra prospects.”

Smet says the government will provide clear and simple rules that are the same for everyone, so Brussels will see terraces popping up all over the city.

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“Thanks to this clear and uniform framework, which should allow an increase in the surface area of terraces, the Region is playing its role of facilitator in order to support the hotel and catering industry, which is suffering so much from the crisis,” said Barbara Trachte, State Secretary for Economic Transition.

Specifically, no planning permits will be required for flexible, adaptable, multifunctional, and movable terraces if a free passage of at least 1.50 m is provided. Terrace furniture may also be stored outside if it is placed together and secured.

There is often not enough space for a terrace on a footpath, but indoor-only catering establishments have fewer tables, which also makes them less profitable.

The idea is to support the sector in its reopening and to give the relaunch of the economy a boost by giving more Brussels residents the chance to enjoy food or a drink outside together.

Other rules for the terraces include that they must be seasonal, used between 1 April and 31 October and/or during end-of-year festivities.

They must also be demolished at least once a year and the terrace floor may only occupy existing parking spaces. It also has to be easily dismantled in case construction work must be done in the vicinity.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times