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Extension of retail opening hours

As of Wednesday 2 December, all non-essential retail shops can reopen. In line with Government guidance, planning rules limiting opening hours will be eased to allow shops to be open for longer from Monday to Saturday.
Lewisham is in National lockdown: Stay at home restrictions

Find out about the COVID-19 restrictions.

You can read the Government’s retail guidance on the UK Parliament website.

Rules of the retail opening hours extension

The relaxation of planning rules:

  • is temporary until 31 January 2021
  • applies only to retail shops
  • applies only to Monday to Saturday trading hours

All businesses must meet COVID-secure standards set by the Government regardless of their hours of operation.

How to request extended opening hours

Retail businesses which have planning conditions that restrict their hours of operation and intend to operate outside these hours should contact planning@lewisham.gov.uk to confirm their proposed temporary hours.

Government guidance makes clear that, as a matter of urgency, local planning authorities should take a positive approach to their engagement with retailers to ensure planning controls are not a barrier to the temporary extension of retail opening times. We will consider requests on a case-by-case basis.

The Government recognises that longer retail opening hours could have a temporary impact on local residents. It states that this must be balanced with making sure there is a safe retail environment during the busy Christmas period. Requests for longer operating hours will be considered in light of this statement from the Government.

We will respond to requests in five working days. We will post the response online on the Planning Portal.


Where a retail business operates outside of their conditioned hours following the government announcement, the government states that the local planning authority should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in the unnecessary restriction of retail hours during this period. Planning enforcement is a discretionary activity. During this temporary period, officers will act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.