What can you do to protect your sites and planning permissions?

26th March 2020

There is much uncertainty in the world at present, with indefinite changes to the ways that we live and work.

We do not yet know what the full impact of COVID-19 will be on construction, development and planning in the UK, but here are some ways that you can protect your planning permission and protect your property assets for the coming months.

If you already have the benefit of planning permission, keep a tight hold of it!

  • We recommend that all relevant conditions are discharged as soon as possible. We expect there will be delays for applications being validated and determined while there are staff shortages due to illness, limitations of remote working or for Officers to be redirected to other posts in Local Government. The sooner these applications are in the better.
  • Commence your development on site as soon as lawfully possible before the expiry date of the decision. The vast majority of decisions have three years in which the development can be implemented. Find out how to do this on our previous article about implementing development, here.
  • Plan ahead! If you anticipate the need for minor changes to a planning permission or a new listed building consent then keep doing what you would have been doing regardless of current affairs.

Do you still need planning permission?

  • To date local authorities are still working, some planners have been identified as key workers, and authority has been given by the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government for Councils to amend their Constitutions to allow for decision making to continue.
  • Commission any third party work you might need to support your applications. Much of this can be done by consultants on a desk top basis, preventing the need for site visits.
  • Be aware that decisions could take longer than before. There is likely to be an additional burden of backlogs of applications, so it would be advisable to continue in the normal course of events and keep submitting those applications ready for when normality returns.

What else can you do?

  • There may be private issues to resolve such as option and promotion agreements, or other land ownership issues. You may need to extend your contract to allow for longer completion dates.
  • We suggest continuing to negotiate, or re-negotiate where applicable, to ensure matters are addressed so that you are ready to commence or continue construction as soon as you can.

Bell Cornwell would be pleased to review what is needed to protect your sites and permissions. Get in touch with one of us today.

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