Ministers revoke planning permission extension powers

Powers that allow councils to extend time limits for development to begin after planning permission has been granted are being revoked in a bid to spur housebuilding, it has emerged.

Planning minister Nick Boles
Planning minister Nick Boles

Planning minister Nick Boles announced at the weekend that measures introduced by the previous government in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis were being revoked.

The temporary legislation aimed to stop projects affected by the financial crisis from losing planning permission.

The move means developers should no longer expect to be able to gain extra time to commence a development after the initially-specified window, which is usually three years.

The Department for Communities and Local Government was unable to specify the exact policy changes being made – or whether they had yet taken effect - before Planning’s deadline.

However it endorsed comments by Boles reported in the Telegraph stating that the measure was intended to "increase the incentive for developers to start on site before permission expires".

"This measure to extend planning permission was always intended to be temporary, and while it made sense in the aftermath of Labour’s financial crash when there was no money to build, as the economy improves, the focus must be on accelerating the number of homes being built to meet demand", Boles said.

The move comes after Labour leader Ed Miliband’s pledged to crack down on the practice of land banking earlier in the autumn, which threatened developers with the loss of their land if they did not build within an acceptable timeframe.

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