This week, the government has announced that all planning permissions due to lapse between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 that have not been implemented are automatically extended until 1 April 2021.
For many builders, this will be a welcome decision especially for those parties whose planning permissions have already lapsed since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.
According to the government’s press release, by the end of June, there will be an estimated “400 residential permissions providing more than 24,000 new homes” that would have lapsed without this automatic extension. However, it should be noted that any planning permission that has already lapsed will be subject to “an Additional Environmental Approval process before the automatic extension can take effect”. Builders should contact the local authority to ascertain their requirements to satisfy this approval.
The government has also confirmed more flexible working hours on constructions sites will be permitted for a temporary period to assist builders with implementing social distancing. Builders will need to contact the local authority to reach an agreement as to the proposed working hours.
In addition, new permanent measures are being introduced to enable the Planning Inspectorate, the ability to use more than one procedure at the same time when dealing with a planning appeal. Currently, the Planning Inspectorate is limited to following either written representations or hearing and inquiries. The benefit of these new measures is that appeals can happen much quicker with a pilot programme undertaken last year seeing the appeal timings halved.
The above measures seek to help boost the building industry but it remains to be seen whether this will be sufficient or will the government need to review matters again in March 2021.
If you would like to speak to a solicitor about how this latest news may impact your business and upcoming projects, our team are on hand to assist and offer advice and support.
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