The government has announced it will extend planning permission deadlines in a bid to save permissions for hundreds of building projects which have yet to commence, from expiring.
This is a welcome measure for those in the middle of self build or extension projects, particularly those who had feared their permission would expire due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLA) revealed on Monday afternoon that projects with an expiration date between the beginning of lockdown (the UK entered lockdown on 23 March) and the end of 2020 will have their permission extended to April 2021.
This announcement forms part of the government’s measures to encourage building in the UK, entitled ‘New plans to get Britain building in coronavirus recovery’.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this government and is an important part of our plans to recover from the impact of the coronavirus.
“New laws will enable us to save hundreds of construction sites from being cancelled before they have a chance to get spades in the ground, helping to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs and create many others.”
(MORE: Jenrick Says ‘Overly Bureaucratic’ Planning System Should be Reformed)
What This Means for Builders
This extension provides relief for those affected by the pandemic who have been unable to build prior to their deadline expiring. Planning permission usually expires after three years if building work has not begun on site, meaning there is a need to reapply.
The government estimates that by the end of June, over 400 residential permissions providing more than 24,000 new homes will have expired.
Now, self builders and home extenders will not need to submit a new application if their planning permission or consent expires by the end of the year.
What Else Was Announced?
New measures will be brought in to speed up the appeals process, enabling planning applications to conclude faster.
The Planning Inspectorate, the government agency which manages planning appeals, will be able to run more than one procedure at the same time when dealing with an appeal. These procedures include written representations, hearings and inquiries.
The government says that a pilot programme in 2019 found that this more than halved the time taken for appeal inquiries, from 47 weeks to 23 weeks.
Furthermore, longer hours will be allowed on work sites to help builders socially distance on building sites.
“This will make it easier to follow public health guidance onsite and by staggering builders’ arrival times, public transport will be less busy and the risk of infection will be reduced,” the government says.