The provisions in the Business and Planning Act 2020 that extend the duration of some planning permissions come into effect on 19 August 2020. Under the Act, which applies to planning permissions in England only, detailed planning consents that include a condition that requires them to have been implemented during the period beginning on 19 August 2020 and ending on 31 December 2020 and which have not been implemented will be automatically extended until 1 May 2021. Where outline planning consent has been granted subject to a condition that a reserved matters application must be made before a date falling between 23 March and 31 December 2020, the time for making the reserved matters application is now also extended to 1 May 2021. Planning consents that have been granted subject to a condition requiring an additional environmental approval and where the deadline for commencement expires between 23 March 2020 and 19 August 2020 have also been extended to 1 May 2021 subject to meeting the specific requirements of the Act.
We have had several enquiries about whether the time limits for completion of Class Q developments for the change of use of agricultural buildings to residential use have also been extended and the answer is that they have not. Given the lack of availability of building materials as a result of the COVID-19 related lock down, that may be an oversight, but may well cause real hardships for anyone with a rapidly closing deadline.
Another (permanent) provision of the Act is related to planning appeals in England and came into effect when the Act came into force on 22 July 2020. Before that date planning appeals were conducted either at a local inquiry; a hearing; or on the basis of representations in writing. The amendments now allow the Secretary of State (or a planning inspector on their behalf) to conduct appeals via one or any combination of those three options as appear most appropriate.