Housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP announcement (22nd June 2020) that Government will introduce of a series of plans this week to help the construction industry get back to work safely after almost 14 weeks of lockdown.
The new plans will include:
• Extended deadline for planning permission, for the hundreds of construction projects where permission is about to expire.
• Flexible working hours on construction sites to support social distancing, helping people return to work safely
• New changes which could speed up the pace of the planning appeal process
The Plans Explained
Extended Planning Permission
The current rules of planning permission state that consent will expire three years after approval if work has not started onsite. The new plan will allow those sites who have consent with an expiry date between the start of lockdown and the end of this year to have their permission extended to 1st April 2021.
The government estimates that planning permission for over 24,000 new homes would have expired by the end of this month alone if the new measures hadn’t been introduced.
Flexible Working Hours
Builders will be encouraged to work with their Local Authorities to agree more flexible working hours on their construction sites going forward. The aim is to allow for more time on site to help with staggering builders arrival times helping to maintain social distancing, which many sites had been finding extremely difficult to achieve.
Speeding up Planning Appeals
Currently it can take around 47 weeks for an appeal inquiries. New measures will see this almost half by permanently granting the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) the ability to use than one procedure (written representations, hearing and inquiries) at the same time when dealing with a planning appeal.
How do these plans affect you?
Are they welcome? Do you feel there is more that the Government could be doing? Leave your comments below.