The coronavirus has led to the Government announcing a change to permitted development legislation, giving restaurants, cafes and pubs the right to run a takeaway service without the need for planning permission. This temporary permission runs for 12 months. The Government has also told local planning authorities to be lenient in any controls over general food deliveries from supermarkets and takeaway outlets.
The Government's Chief Planner has written to Councils to encourage more flexibility in decision-making, with greater use of delegated powers for decisions rather than planning committees. There are indications of more flexibility in deadlines for public consultation too, but nothing definite yet. So still keep to your deadlines if you are writing in to a planning application or appeal.
The Planning Inspectorate - the Government agency that handles planning appeals - has announced all Inspector site visits, Hearings and Inquiries are postponed til further notice. There are also no staff in their offices, so no hard copies of documents should be posted. But online submissions remain active - still keep to your deadlines!
Following last week's Budget the Government announced an intention to extend permitted development rights for additional storeys to existing buildings. This will mean that planning permission is not required for certain extensions. The details will be published later this year, so watch this space. But don't get too excited! Past experience shows there will still be rules and regulations to meet, and a lot of development will still need a grant of planning permission.
The Ombudsman has found the decision of a Council to be defective, when they gave permission for a new house next to a cricket club. The club was hitting balls into the garden, which led to complaints and forced the club to relocate temporarily. The Ombudsman decided the Council's decision failed to properly consult and did not take into account mitigation that was needed - a net to stop the balls. This shows the importance of making your views during a planning application, and that the Council must be very careful in looking at everyone's opinions.