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18th August 2020

Extensions to Planning Permissions

On the 22nd July 2020, the Business and Planning Act 2020 was granted royal assent. The Act 2020 temporarily modifies the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to enable certain planning permissions and listed building consents in England, which have lapsed or are due to lapse during 2020, to be extended.

MHCLG produced statistics showing that between March and June 2020, roughly 430 permissions resulting in nearly 25,000 homes would have lapsed and it is estimated that over 1,000 permissions would otherwise have expired by the end of the year.

The modification creates a new section 93A, through which unimplemented planning permissions with time limits due to expire between 19 August 2020 (when the provisions came into force) and 31 December 2020 are automatically extended to 1 May 2021, with no requirement to obtain Additional Environmental Approval (AEA).

In addition, those planning permissions which lapsed between 23 March 2020 and 19 August 2020 are also restored and the time limit extended to 1 May 2021, however they are subject to AEA being granted.

If your Environmental Impact Assessment and/or Habitats Regulation Assessment are out of date, you are required to get AEA to ensure that there have not been any changes since the original consideration. There are criteria that need to be met in order for the local planning authority (LPA) to grant an AEA. We can advise on individual proposals if you require more detail about what this might entail for your project.

It is important that the opportunity of take advantage of the extension of time for existing consents is not missed, not least because the policy position at the time of permission may be significantly different to the policy position currently and, should you have to re-apply, there is no guarantee that you will secure planning permission again. Section 93A is also considered to be very helpful for LPAs when confirming or extending their five year housing land supply.

The extension opportunity is seen to have garnered significant levels of support across the planning and development world and we consider it to be a positive step. The additional time afforded by the extension to limits for implementation can be well utilised by dealing with any associated pre-commencement planning conditions and s106 obligations. If you have a permission which may lapse within the year or require assistance with managing your outstanding pre-commencement conditions and obligations do get in touch with us.

Geoff Megarity, Senior Planner

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