Which permit is required to open a shop?

Last modified:

Thursday 31 October 2019

Since 1 July 2014, the Brussels Parliament has decided to integrate the socio-economic permit into the planning permit application procedure. This integration forms part of the sixth reform of the State which transfers the competence of commercial facilities from the federal level to the regions.

In planning terms, the approaches involved in opening a shop (excluding wholesalers), a café or restaurant are now of two types: the planning declaration and the planning permit

1. Preliminary planning declaration to be sent to the municipality before:

  • the construction of a shop;
  • the extension or modification of a shop in an existing property and already allocated to a trading activity;
  • the creation of a shop in an existing property still not allocated to a trading activity.

!!! Please note that this declaration is not an application, as the government must still determine the content thereof.
 

2. A single permit required (= merging of the planning permit and the socio-economic permit) for:

  • the construction of a new shop;
  • the construction of a new commercial complex;
  • the extension of an existing shop;
  • the creation of a shop in an existing property still not allocated to a trading activity.
  • significant modifications to the commercial activity in a property already allocated to shop use and with a net sales surface area of over 400 m².

The net sales area is the surface area intended for sales or the supply of services, which is accessible to the public and includes non-covered surface area, till areas, areas behind the tills and entrances when the latter are also used for the display or sale of goods

The commercial activity is also aimed at the range of goods sold as well as the range of goods and/or services provided, the shop's operation and even the surface area used.

When does a specific explanatory note, an impact report or an impact assessment need to be attached to the planning permit application file?

  • Specific explanatory note (in french): in the case of a shop with a net surface area of between 400 and 1,000 m². The latter will mention the impact of the shop on:
    • consumer protection;
    • safety;
    • the cleanliness of the premises and the surrounding areas;
    • traffic, accessibility and parking conditions;
    • the shop's integration into the environment.

It will also provide a calculation of the net sales area.

  • Impact report: when the shop has a net sales area of over 1,000 m², which must include a specific statement including the elements required in the explanatory note (see above).
  • Impact study: when the shop develops a net sales area of over 4,000 m², which must include a specific statement including the elements required in the explanatory note (see above).

Please note that certain shops may also require an environmental permit.

Similarly, for shops in the Horeca sector, a  HoReCa authorisation must generally be requested from the commune before opening.

Let's stay in touch

Join more than 25,000 subscribers and receive every fortnight in your mailbox our free newsletter (only in French or Dutch), packed with the latest news, fascinating testimonials, actionable advice and an overview of useful workshops and networking activities for entrepreneurs in Brussels !