Developers to be offered extended consents

The Government's chief planner, Steve Quartermain, has confirmed special arrangements will come into play on 1 October for extending existing planning permissions.

The measure is being introduced to try and help the development industry keep the prospect of stalled development schemes alive through the continuing challenges of the recession.

From 1 October application forms will be available on the Planning Portal website for those wishing to extend the life of existing permission. The provisions apply to all planning permissions, but the permission must be alive and unimplemented on the 1 October to qualify for consideration.

The provisions also extend to separate consents given for works relating listed buildings and conservation areas consent regime, but only if there's a corresponding planning permission which is being extended at the same time.

There's a fee of £500 for applications to extend the time limit for implementation of major developments, a nominal fee of £50 for householder development, and £170 for anything else.

Andrew Watt, partner at MAZE Planning Solutions, based in Bury, commented: "The introduction of these provisions should bring a measure of relief to developers and landowners working hard to keep the prospects of a development alive. Many will have invested a great deal of time and money in securing permission in the first place, only to be rewarded by a falling demand for space and viability calculations that no longer stack up. The provisions could be particularly critical to landowners and developers for whom it is vital to maintain the book value of assets in order to satisfy lenders and keep within banking covenants.

"One word of caution – there's a twist for those with permissions are due that expire within the first few weeks after 1 October – whilst the desired application fee levels have been identified by DCLG, the corresponding planning application fee regulations can only be changed by Parliament.

"As matters stand at present DCLG thinks that may not happen until eight or ten weeks after 1 October. In the meantime the existing fee regime stands – and that means paying a full application for a time extension, as if the proposal were a new application. For a major development that could run to tens of thousands of pounds."

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