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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.

Related FAQs

What has been the response from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)?

The CMA is the government body that is responsible for protecting consumers from unfair trading practices. It has announced programme of work to investigate reports of businesses failing to respect cancellation rights during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Based on the complaints received by them from consumers, the CMA has identified three sectors of particular concern:

  • Weddings and private events
  • Holiday accommodation
  • Nurseries and childcare providers

The CMA has expressed concern about the number of complaints that it has received about businesses seeking to retain deposits for cancelled events, undue restrictions being placed on use of vouchers provided for cancelled bookings, and payments being demanded to hold open nursery places.

The CMA has said it will prioritise investigation of these sectors, and then move on to other sectors.

I'm self-isolating and understand that it takes some time to get a Lasting Power of Attorney registered. What can I do in the meantime to enable someone else to operate my bank account and pay my bills?

The Office of the Public Guardian is continuing to accept applications to register Lasting Powers of Attorney but their usual estimated timescale of eight to ten weeks is likely to be affected by the current situation.

Consequently, an alternative or interim measure if you need something quickly is to execute a General Power of Attorney to authorise someone to act as your Attorney to undertake day to day financial transactions for you. The General Power of Appointment only needs to be executed by you in the presence of a witness (not the Attorney) to be valid and does not need to be registered with the Court of Protection. However, the Power of Attorney would cease to have effect if you become incapable of managing your affairs. It should be seen as a stop-gap only.

What are the responsibilities of employers under the coronavirus Test and Trace scheme?

The Government has produced workplace guidance for employers, setting out 2 key messages for employers:

  • Continue to make workplaces as safe as possible; and
  • Encourage workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and to support them while they are require to isolate

Government guidance can be accessed here: How it works (an overview) and Workplace guidance for employers.

Can we still use the furlough (coronavirus job retention scheme)?

Yes. For further guidance, please see our FAQs section on Furlough.

What type of agreements are we talking about?

To respond to the crisis businesses might need to exchange information to a greater extent than they would usually. They might need to discuss capacity and to coordinate supply chains (both upstream and downstream). They might need to purchase or sell jointly to ensure vital supplies are maintained. In general agreements or collaboration which:

  • Avoid a shortage, or ensure security, of supply
  • Ensure a fair distribution of scarce products
  • Continue essential services
  • Provide new services such as food delivery to vulnerable consumers