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Planning consents extended in bid to boost economy

Herzog and de Meuron Chelsea FC  2
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Ministers have extended a raft of planning permissions in a bid to spark a post-lockdown building boom

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick announced that all construction consents due to expire between 23 March and 31 December this year would now be valid until 1 April 2021.

Developers usually have three years to start on site once planning permission is granted. But, with the economy crashing in the wake of the strict lockdown imposed in March and social distancing making building difficult, many projects have halted.

Other measures announced by Jenrick this week to reverse the trend include allowing the Planning Inspectorate to run more work concurrently on a planning appeal to speed up decisions.

Contractors will also be able to seek more flexible working hours from local councils to help them work effectively during the pandemic.

Jenrick said: ‘Building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this government and is an important part of our plans to recover from the impact of the coronavirus.

‘New laws will enable us to speed up the pace of planning appeals and save hundreds of construction sites from being cancelled before they have a chance to get spades in the ground, helping to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs and create many others.

‘Taken together, these measures will help to keep workers safe and our economy moving as we work together to bounce back from the pandemic.’

Meanwhile prime minister Boris Johnson has announced that people will, from 4 July, be able work within 1m of each other if necessary as long as they take other precautions to prevent transmission of Covid-19.

Research carried out by the RIBA in May found that 38 per cent of projects had been placed on hold since 1 March.

Planning permission for Herzog & de Meuron’s 60,000-seat stadium for Chelsea Football Club expired on 31 March this year, meaning the Premier League outfit now has an extra 12 months in which it could start the scheme. 

The club said in a statement back in March: ’We will continue to consider our options for a new stadium, should economic conditions improve.’ 

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