18-month limit on planning permission if progress not made

New government proposals suggest that there should be a limit of 18 months from when planning permission was granted for building developers to progress with work (to the satisfaction of the local planning authority), otherwise planning permission may be revoked. The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee published The future of the planning system in England First Report on 10 June 2021.

Some industry-leading professionals agree that speeding up rates of home building will help to achieve the government target of 300,000 new homes a year, others are concerned it may cause a bottleneck in the industry. Simon Das of 978 Finance, said: “These proposals are simply a kick in the teeth for our house building clients. Instead of putting the onus on developers, the government should concentrate on reforming the antiquated and protracted planning process. The planning system itself and local opposition remain the main obstacles to new homes being built. We see developers waiting up to 18 months for planning approval, then having to reschedule their builds until they can bring in new contractors often due to delays on discharge of relatively simple pre-commencement conditions. Equally, in the current climate developers are struggling with the procurement of building materials with costs spiralling over the last year. Clearly, the last thing we want are house builders rushing or cutting corners, this will directly impact on profitability and ultimately build quality. Burdening developers with increasing penalties will only lead to a bottleneck situation, and if not handled carefully, be entirely counterproductive to the industry at large. Such proposals hardly bolster the entrepreneurial spirit or encourage the formation of new SME’s vital for attaining the build figures promised in the Conservative manifesto. An added layer of bureaucracy is surely not what is needed for post covid economic recovery”.
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