Potentially good news for developers who are restricted by planning conditions: Business and Planning Bill 2019-21
With the sole aim of “promoting economic recovery and growth”, currently before Parliament is the Business and Planning Bill 2019-21 (the “Bill”).
Section 16 of the Bill addresses the development of land and the right of a developer to apply to its local planning authority to modify an existing planning condition for the benefit of construction. The purpose of such an application would be to amend an existing planning condition so that construction site working hours are carried out for:
(1) a longer period on a particular day (which may be for the whole of that day); and
(2) the whole or part of a day on which construction activities would not otherwise be allowed to be carried out.
The application must include the date the amendment is, or amendments are, proposed to take effect from and to. However, the amendments cannot relate to construction activities post 1 April 2021 and do not include the development of a dwelling house.
For any developers, and indeed contractors, concerned about the ability to deliver a project on time because of COVID-19 implications, this is likely to be a subtle but hugely effective gateway to more time. It does, however, beg the question over how this allocation of time (and ultimately cost) is dealt with in the project contracts. This must be assessed on a contract by contract basis.
Following the Government’s announcement yesterday to deliver a £1bn rebuild programme for crumbling schools, this is incredibly welcome news and, once again, illustrates the Government’s commitment to delivering construction investment in the UK.
We will continue to keep you updated of any developments.