West Berkshire Council

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find information about community support and our services during the coronavirus pandemic, on our information for residents pages, our information for businesses pages, and our community support hub page which has guidance to help coordinate community organisations.

See a summary of our Local Outbreak Control Plan and read our frequently asked questions. 

Opening of West Berkshire Town Centres

Town centres across the district will be opening on 15 June

Maintaining a strong local economy is one of our main priorities and we know that the past few months have taken their toll on the district's businesses. We want to ensure that we are doing all we can to ease this burden where possible. In recent weeks, our officers have distributed almost £30m in grant funding to eligible businesses and we also put into place a unique district-wide business rates deferral for all firms.

We are looking forward to welcoming shoppers back to our local high streets and have put into place a number of measures to support this including:

In addition, we have put together some free resources to help town centre businesses.

We've also produced pdf icon a leaflet that gives details of the five steps to returning to work safely [1Mb] as well as useful advice and contact details for council officers who can support you through this difficult time.

Hospitality Businesses

We recognise that hospitality businesses have been particularly impacted by Covid-19 and we want to reassure them that we will be as flexible as we can in order to make their re-opening a success. Our dedicated team of officers is here to support you if you need help or advice to re-open safely. If you would like to make use of this service, please complete our online form.

Better use of outdoor space

Our Environment Team is working with our Development and Planning Team to quickly consider requests from hospitality businesses for additional outdoor seating so that they can continue to serve customers whilst adhering to social distancing guidance. You can read more about this in our new temporary additional outdoor seating licence for hospitality businesses press release.

Using vacant premises

Our Development and Planning Service determines applications for change of use of buildings. These changes require a full planning application and as the Local Planning Authority, we must ensure that any proposals to change the use class of a building are appropriate. Given the impact of Covid-19, we are offering to fast track these applications for those businesses who would struggle to re-open without using additional space or premises. Furthermore, our service will offer free, non-binding informal pre-application advice to businesses to simplify this process.

Advice for businesses

Our Economic Development Team can refer businesses to advice on a wealth of topics including grants, access to finance, HR and marketing. They will also be consulting with businesses as a local economic recovery plan is developed. Email gabrielle.mancini@westberks.gov.uk for more information.

Alcohol and Food Licensing

The Public Protection Partnership offers support on Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards issues as well as specific advice on operating a business safely during the Covid-19 global pandemic.

All alcohol licences now cover off licence sales. If you are considering making further changes to how your business operates, including using additional premises or floor space, please contact our officers to discuss whether this has any licensing implications and they will be happy to help.

Environmental Health ehadvice@westberks.gov.uk

Licensing licensing@westberks.gov.uk

Trading Standards tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk

Support for businesses webinar

We recently hosted a webinar to support businesses re-opening. You can watch the webinar below and powerpoint icon download a copy of the presentation [772kb].