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.
In making a Traffic Regulation Order (“TRO”) local authorities must follow the regulations, which include provisions relating to publicity requiring publishing the notice in a local newspaper, making the orders available for public inspection at a Council’s offices (which are likely to be closed to the public during this time) and where considered appropriate, posting the notices on the streets.
In recognition of the potential difficulties with complying with the publicity requirements, the Department for Transport has issued guidance as to how a Council may still publicise a TRO. The guidance recognises that not everyone may be able to access local newspapers online and suggests that people and organisations could be adequately informed by means of letter, leaflet drops, or local radio. In respect of making the relevant document available at the Council’s offices, the guidance suggests that notices could be placed online or outside offices with brief details and including a telephone number or email to use to request a hard copy of the documents.
While the guidance is helpful, it is important to note that it is guidance only and that the regulations have not been relaxed. Authorities will still need to demonstrate that they have satisfied all of the publicity arrangements in respect of the TRO.
From 8 June 2020, people entering the UK from overseas (excluding those entering from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man) must comply with a mandatory 14 day quarantine period. However, for those travelling to England, a number of country specific exemptions have been introduced.
A full list of the countries excluded from the quarantine provisions can be found on the gov.uk website which change on a regular basis, often on short notice.
Where a quarantine period does apply, a person will not be able to leave the place they are staying in for 14 days, except in some very limited circumstances.
These rules will apply to both British and foreign nationals, however there are some further exemptions to this rule where a person is coming to the UK to undertake a certain role (such as a healthcare professional coming to the UK to provide essential healthcare). A full list of the narrow exemptions can be found on the gov.uk website.
Before travelling, individuals will be asked to provide their contact details and information about their journey and the accommodation that they will be self-isolating in. To do this, individuals will need to fill in an online form on the gov.uk website. Individuals who refuse to fill in this form may be fined £100 and/or denied entry at the UK border should they not be a British citizen or UK resident.
The information provided in the form will ensure that the Government can check that an individual is self-isolating at the address given. Where an individual refuses to self-isolate they can be fined £1,000 if they are staying in England or Wales.
Once visa application centres re-open overseas and UK visa applications are processed, this 14 day period will need to be taken into consideration and may require employment start dates in the UK to be delayed.
All three of the PPNs are effective immediately and apply to the following Contracting Authorities:
- Central Government Departments
- Executive agencies
- Non-departmental public bodies
- Local authorities
- NHS bodies
- The wider public sector
In regards to PPN03/20, those in scope organisations that do not currently use procurement cards are advised to immediately put in place arrangements using the relevant Crown Commercial Service Agreement (Lot 2 of RM3828 Payment Solutions).
You will need to keep a copy of the written agreement for a period of 5 years. If the hours of work change from that which you initially agree, you are likely to need something new in writing to cover each separate arrangement.
You should also keep records of how many hours your employees work and how many hours they are furloughed (i.e. not working). You must keep these records for 6 years, together with a record of the amount claimed, your claim reference number and your calculations.
Business operators such as travel operators, hotels and restaurants remain vulnerable to claims of failure to protect against contracting the virus. There is a high chance of claims from employees, clients and members of the public. These are likely to be covered under public liability and employer’s liability insurance.