The Government announced this week that it intends introducing legislation to extend the time for implementing planning consents which were due to expire post the Coronavirus lockdown. Lobbying from the RIBA and RTPI has had an effect as many schemes were at risk of running out of time to commence works on site, especially given the general slowing up of the planning service at Local Government level. We have many projects where the discharge of pre commencement planning conditions appears to be at a standstill with LPA resources being stretched.
Any planning application with an expiry date between lockdown (March 23rd 2020) and 31st December 2020 will automatically be extended to 1st April 2021. This is welcome news for many of our clients whose projects are at a standstill presently.
Also expected shortly is the long awaited White Paper on Planning. Rumour has it that this will propose a major shake up of the planning system with ideas including greater Permitted Development and the potential to re-shape the land use system in the UK. With the impact of Covid – 19 changing the way in which we live and work I believe there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to address major issues facing the country including the climate emergency, biodiversity, food production, air quality, housing and social cohesion.
Can we all rise to the challenge? Expect robust debate when the White Paper is eventually published!