Bill amendment gives developers extra month to implement permissions threatened by Covid-19

Legislation allowing the extension of planning permission for projects delayed by the coronavirus pandemic has been amended to allow developers an extra month to start work on site.

MHCLG: Legislation amended to extend COVID-hit permissions by further month
MHCLG: Legislation amended to extend COVID-hit permissions by further month

The House of Commons has accepted a Lords amendment to the Business and Planning Bill that will see permissions extended until 1 May 2021.

The Business and Planning Act, which introduces a series of changes to the planning system aiming to support businesses in the wake of Covid-19, received royal assent yesterday.

The original bill proposed an extension until 1 April.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher told MPs: “We have increased the extension of planning permission by one month. This is a modest extension, but it will provide further certainty and reassurance to developers and local authorities that planning permissions will not lapse unnecessarily as a result of the pandemic.”

Pincher said a further amendment will mean extensions will only be granted where “necessary or appropriate for a purpose linked to the coronavirus pandemic”, describing the change as an “important clarification”.

Draft government guidance published earlier this month indicated that detailed and outline permissions due to expire in the period starting 28 days after the legislation’s royal assent and ending on 31 December this year will automatically be extended.

Any permission which was due to expire between 23 March 2020 and the legislation’s royal assent will also be extended, but will be subject to an “additional environmental approval” being granted by the local authority.

Local authorities have been advised that any applications to extend planning permissions should be determined within 28 days and that there will be no fee for developers seeking extensions.

An analysis article exploring the implications of extending consents that lapse during the pandemic can be found here.

The Business and Planning Act also introduces measures to allow inspectors to simultaneously use written representations, hearings and inquiries when deciding a planning appeal. More details on the measures can be found here.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs