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What challenges to planning permission does the current lockdown situation present?

  • Delays in preparing and submitting applications to comply with pre-commencement conditions. In this respect there can be lengthy timescales gathering evidence to support applications to comply with pre-commencement conditions, ecology, contamination and archaeology are examples of matters which can require significant periods of survey work
  • Following on from the above the ability to get required experts on the site necessary to undertake the required survey work
  • Delays in the determination of applications to comply with pre-commencement conditions. In this respect whilst there are deemed discharge provisions/procedures concerning certain matters, the provisions cannot be used to discharge all types of conditions
  • The ability to get people on site to undertake material operations

In the circumstances, it is advisable to start considering the implementation of the planning permission early and the earlier the better. Under current legislation whilst it is possible to vary conditions, albeit potentially leading to wider issues, it is not possible to extend the life of a planning permission meaning that lawful implementation is essential to avoid the loss of that permission.

If a planning permission is lost, amongst other things it may not be granted again or may not be granted on similar terms. In the circumstances, it is advisable to seek advice given the specific facts of the case to minimise the risk of a planning permission not being lawfully implemented and expiring.