Scottish Government moves to allow permissions to extend during coronavirus crisis

The Scottish Government has introduced emergency legislation to allow planning permissions that would otherwise lapse during the coronavirus crisis to be extended by a year.

The Scottish Parliament (pic: Getty)
The Scottish Parliament (pic: Getty)

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill was introduced by the Scottish Government yesterday.

Amongst its measures, the bill says that if a planning permission would under normal rules lapse during the "emergency period" - defined as the period of six months after the provision comes into force - then "the period within which development is to be commenced is extended".

Explanatory notes for the bill say this "means that a planning permission due to expire within the emergency period would instead lapse at the end of the extended period unless development has already commenced".

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The "extended period" is defined as the period of 12 months beginning with the date on which the provisions come into force.

The emergency legislation also provides ministers with the power to amend those periods if required.

Elsewhere, the bill makes equivalent provisions in respect of planning permissions granted in principle.

The bill is scheduled to be rushed through the Scottish Parliament today.

Last month, the Scottish Government issued advice stating that planners should "take a positive approach" in allowing retailers to work around planning restrictions on delivery and opening times for their stores in the face of "exceptional challenges" arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the UK parliament passed an emergency law that would allow councils to hold virtual planning committee meetings in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Secondary legislation is required before such measures can come into force.

The bill did not contain measures to allow extensions to planning permissions in England.

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