Extensions to planning permissions expiring during pandemic

Housing estate under construction

In response to the development sector, the Government has published the Business and Planning Bill to extend planning permissions and listed building consents until 1 April 2021. Gemma Dudley of Hewitsons provides the details.

Generally speaking, unless work begins on a project within three years, the planning permission expires. It was estimated that 430 residential planning permissions providing 24,800 homes would lapse between 23 March and 30 June alone. With the COVID-19 lockdown preventing the start of many projects, the new legislation will extend when permissions and consents lapse.

Planning permissions expiring between the date the Business and Planning Act comes into force and 31 December 2020 will automatically be extended until 1 April 2021. Permissions that have lapsed between 23 March and when the Act comes into force will require an additional environmental approval. Those with outline planning permission where approval of reserved matters needed to be obtained between 23 March and 31 December will have until 1 April 2021 to submit their application. Listed building consents expiring between 23 March and 31 December 2020 will be automatically extended until 1 April 2021.

In addition, where a planning permission condition restricts the working hours that construction can take place, the Bill will introduce a simplified application process to seek a relaxation of those restrictions. Approval will be deemed to be granted if the local authority does not respond within 14 days. The proposed modifications will cease to have effect on 1 April 2021 at the latest.

The bill also gives greater flexibility on which procedure the Planning Inspectorate can choose for planning and related appeals, permitting the simultaneous use of more than one procedure to speed up the process. In addition, the bill will allow electronic inspection of the Mayor of London’s ‘spatial development strategy’ until 31 December 2020.

The Government is asking Parliament to expedite the parliamentary progress of the Bill with a view to getting the measures in place before summer recess on 21 July.

For more information, please contact Gemma Dudley on 01223 532747 or click here to email Gemma.


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