In Opinion

Following the Government’s rapid instruction of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which received Royal Assent on the 25th March 2020, the act was swiftly followed with a draft of Regulations governing Local Planning Authority meetings. These will allow LPAs to conduct planning meetings remotely including, planning committees. The draft Regulations make it clear that councillors can attend meetings remotely provided they are able to listen to the meeting and be heard, and if possible be seen on a screen, and that such meetings should also be open to the public. Open to the public means, amongst other things, access through remote means including videoconferencing, live webcasts, and live interactive streaming. We expect the Regulations to be in place shortly.

The prompt action of the Government in this regard shows that it understands the value of the construction industry to the Country and the importance of continuing to make planning decisions so that when the Country comes out social isolation, developers and in particular housebuilders, can commence new planning permissions and build the new houses that this Country so desperately needs.

Mark Lane, Director and Head of Residential at DPP had this to say;

“The prompt action of the Government in this regard shows that it understands the value of the construction industry to the Country and the importance of continuing to make planning decisions so that when the Country comes out social isolation, developers and in particular housebuilders, can commence new planning permissions and build the new houses that this Country so desperately needs.

We are pleased to see this clear instruction from the Government that the planning process must continue. However, we are experiencing differing applications; ranging from best practice and councils who have moved immediately to deal with all applications under delegated powers, to those who still have no protocol for moving applications forward. Further, we expect the implementation of remote meeting will be mixed; much depends on the technology available to each council. This inconsistency is making decisions on how to proceed on development proposals very difficult. Through our contacts with LPA’s we have been able to quickly establish the position for all our projects, and would be pleased to assist developers in identifying how best to progress in each instance by contacting me.”

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Michelle Davies