Temporary CIL Reliefs and Extended Permitted Development Rights Announced

May 29, 2020

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has announced several planning updates, including temporary measures to alleviate the immediate Community Infrastructure Levy (“CIL”) impact on developers, as well as announcing additional temporary permitted development rights and extension to planning permission deadlines.

What is the Covid-19 impact on CIL?

Given the effect of Covid-19 on both developers and the operation of local planning authorities, new measures have been introduced to alleviate the timings for payment of CIL contributions. The aim of the update is to assist developers in managing their cashflow. This includes a suite of temporary rights has been introduced for local authorities giving them the ability to waive interest on late CIL payments, to defer CIL payments, and (in appropriate circumstances) the discretion to return interest already charged on late CIL payments. Such measures will be available to apply to developers with an annual turnover of less than £45 million. These are a temporary measures, and although no end date has been formally announced, it is anticipated that the temporary rights will cease to apply once the development sector has seen recovery from the effects of Covid-19.

What other planning assistance is being offered to developers?

In another nod to the impact of Covid-19 the government has confirmed that they will allow more flexible working hours on construction sites to allow for developers to introduce measures such as varied start and finish times. The aim of which is to support developers in allowing workers on site while maintaining social distancing.

The Housing secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, has also announced that planning permissions that were due to expire between the start of lockdown (March 2020) and the end of 2020 will be extended until 1 April 2021.

Are there new Permitted Development Rights?

In addition, the government has announced a further set of permitted development rights (“PD rights”). This forms part of their wider response to the coronavirus pandemic (with the first wave of temporary PD rights having been announced at the start of lockdown, https://www.herrington-carmichael.com/planning-with-covid-19/). Some of these rights are time limited, allowing a swift response, if necessary, to ongoing localised outbreaks of the coronavirus. Until 31 December 2020 additional PD rights will be available to health service providers and local authorities. These rights have been designed to support a prompt response to the coronavirus by healthcare providers and local authorities. There is no pre-requisite to apply for approval, so rights can be exercised provided that the local authority is notified when the PD rights have been used. The rights will allow change of use of existing buildings and construction of new temporary modular structures for the purposes of preventing an emergency or controlling the impact of an emergency. It is intended that such rights will apply to provision of facilities such as new testing centres, and additional hospital or healthcare facilities. It will also apply to provision of ancillary facilities such as storage and distribution centres as well as additional residential accommodation.

Further PD rights have also been announced in relation to both commercial property and purpose-built blocks of flats. The new proposals from the Housing Secretary intend to introduce PD rights for building up to two additional storeys on existing flats without the need for planning permission. It remains to be seen what the full extent of such rights will be, and how they will operate in line with the rest of the planning regime. Meanwhile the PM has announced his intentions to allow conversion of vacant commercial premises to residential dwellings. Again, the final details are not yet clear.

The above is intended as a brief guide to the recent temporary planning changes announced by the government and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice.

If you require further advice regarding the development of land or any other Real Estate matter, please contact Steph Richards in our Real Estate department. You can also email your query to realestate@herrington-carmichael.com, call 01276 686222 or visit https://www.herrington-carmichael.com/.

This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.


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