Parking places will make way for terraces this summer in Brussels. The government of the Brussels Region has approved the proposal of State Secretary for Urbanism Pascal Smet to simplify the regulations on catering terraces so that restaurant and bar owners can easily install terraces on parking places outside. The approved guidelines are valid in 2021 and 2022. This means that, once the health situation allows it, people will be able to enjoy drinks and meals on many new terraces around the city.
In particular, 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 Brusselers the possibility to enjoy a drink on a terrace together.
When the situation allows it, many Brusselers will again enjoy our great bars and restaurants. Because there is no place better than a terrace and because we want to encourage people to meet outdoors this summer, we authorise the conversion of parking places to terraces until the end of 2022. We provide clear and simple rules that are the same for everyone. In this way, many terraces will appear in Brussels this summer. Our bars and restaurants are going through difficult times and this way we are providing more perspective.”Pascal Smet, State Secretary for Urbanism.
By simplifying, harmonising 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. For example, 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.
“Thanks to this clear and uniform framework, which should allow a greater terrace surface, the Region takes its responsibility as facilitator by supporting the bars and restaurants, which are hit hardly by the crisis. In addition to the regional and federal financial support, the bars and restaurants will need all the possible support when they reopen. Terraces will play an essential role in the revival of the sector.”Barbara Trachte, State Secretary for Economic Transition.
These conditions do not apply to protected sites, but a planning permit can be obtained for these sites. The catering licence, 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 authorisations. The Brussels Government underlines that a prior planning permit is required for the terraces that do not meet the conditions of the decree.
So what are the conditions?
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 colours and paint;
Subtle engraving, if desired, directly on the glass;
Open the terrace at the sidewalk side.