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Planning permission deadlines to be extended for sites hit by coronavirus

23 June 2020

The government is to allow construction sites that faced the expiry of planning permission because of the coronavirus pandemic to extend their consent until next year.

Planning permission usually expires after three years if work has not started onsite. Sites with consent that have an expiry date between the start of lockdown and the end of this year will now see their consent extended to 1 April 2021.

The government estimated that by the end of this month (June 2020), more than 400 residential permissions providing more than 24,000 new homes would have expired.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said the decision was to boost the construction industry and to help workers return to work safely.

It has also announced measures to allow flexible working hours on sites to support social distancing.

And it will speed up appeals by permanently granting the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) the ability to use more than one procedure – written representations, hearings and inquiries. 

Last year a pilot programme tested this approach and implemented recommendations of the Rosewell Review, which more than halved the time taken for appeal inquiries, from 47 weeks to 23 weeks. 

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick said: “Building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this government and is an important part of our plans to recover from the impact of the coronavirus.

“New laws will enable us to speed up the pace of planning appeals and save hundreds of construction sites from being cancelled before they have a chance to get spades in the ground, helping to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs and create many others.

“Taken together, these measures will help to keep workers safe and our economy moving as we work together to bounce back from the pandemic.”

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