Since the first National lockdown (in March/April 2020) the Planning Service has seen no slowdown in planning applications compared to previous years.
You may experience delays in the processing of your planning application/planning query as a result of changes to working practices, planning procedures, policy and planning guidance that have arisen as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We appreciate your patience in this regard and we are doing our very best to process your planning-related matter as quickly as possible.
The Planning Service is putting in place internal measures to more effectively deal with workloads and to ensure customers do not experience unnecessary and prolonged delays.
The Planning Service as a whole is continuing to work with external consultees and other partners to maintain the service for all customers.
In addition to the specific information below, further planning advice can be found on GOV.UK's coronavirus planning update page.
- Use of pubs and restaurants as food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak
- Construction site working hours during the coronavirus outbreak
- Pavement cafes following the outbreak
Business and Planning Act updates
The Business and Planning Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 22 July 2020 and there are a number of guidance documents that should be read alongside the Act. The Act makes significant changes to the licensing and planning regimes in England in order to support economic recovery and growth as the UK recovers from the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the Planning amendments include:
- Modification of conditions relating to construction working hours
- Extension of duration of certain planning permissions
Modification of conditions relating to construction working hours
These reforms in the Business and Planning Act follow the Written Ministerial Statement on planning and construction working hours on 13 May 2020. Further information is available on GOV.UK's page for Construction working hours guidance.
The legislation allows developers to apply online to the Local Planning Authority to temporarily extend working hours on construction sites until 1 April 2021 where planning permission has been granted for the development of land, subject to a condition restricting site working hours, or a condition requiring the submission of a construction management plan (which limits working hours).
The "fast track" application provisions enable changes to construction working hours to support safe construction working in line with the government’s latest social distancing guidance on construction and other outdoor work. It is clear that a Local Planning Authority should not refuse applications to extend working hours until 9pm, Monday to Saturday without very compelling reasons.
A decision should be issued within 14 days (excluding public holidays). If the Local Planning Authority does not determine the application within the 14-day time period, the revised working hours are deemed to have been consented to and construction can take place in accordance with the new hours proposed.
Previously agreed plans to control working activities other than construction working hours will continue to apply, for example any mitigation strategy, adherence to a Considerate Contractor scheme or similar. Other environmental controls over matters such as light, air quality or dust will continue to apply. After 1 April 2021, the original conditions over construction hours will resume.
There is no requirement to publicise the application and the Authority may choose to engage relevant Ward Councillors, Environmental Health Officers and others who they consider will have an interest, but the application must be determined within 14 days. An applicant has the right to appeal a refusal.
Applicants will need to provide details of:
- the planning permission to which the application relates
- the existing agreed construction working hours
- details to identify the condition or approved document such as a construction management plan which details the working hours
- the proposed revised construction working hours
- the date the revised construction working hours should take effect (which must not be earlier than the end of the period of 14 days beginning with the day after the application is sent to the Local Planning Authority)
- the date on which the application is sent
- the date on which the revised construction working hours should cease to have an effect (no later than 1 April 2021)
To aid swift decision-making, applicants should also provide:
- a short justification on why extended hours are necessary to enable safe working practices on site
- a list of the primary construction activities, expected to take place during the extended working hours, including plant and equipment to be used
- a proportionate assessment (where relevant) of the likely impact of noise upon sensitive uses near to the site (For example: dwellings, hospitals and, care homes)
- details of their mitigation plan as set out below.
You can apply using the Modification of Conditions form [PDF, 94Kb].
Use of pubs and restaurants as food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak
The government has put in place emergency measures to relax planning laws to allow social venues, including businesses such as pubs and restaurants, to operate as takeaways to start providing food delivery services straightaway through a new permitted development right.
Takeaway food must either be collected by, or delivered to, customers and should not be consumed on the premises. This permitted development right is made under Part 4, Class DA of the Town and Country Planning Act General Permitted Development Order 2015 (as amended) and allows the temporary change until 23 March 2021.
Under the changes to regulations, pubs and restaurants wishing to use their premises as food takeaways must notify their Local Planning Authority in writing - you can notify us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
When notifying us, please include the following details:
- name and address of the public house or restaurant
- name of contact (for example, the licensee or manager)
- telephone number
- date on which the temporary use as a takeaway started.
You may also require a licence under the Licensing Act 2003.
Construction site working hours during the coronavirus outbreak
The government published a Written Ministerial Statement on planning and construction working hours on 13 May 2020. The government expects local planning authorities to approve requests to extend construction working hours temporarily, to ensure safe working in line with social distancing guidelines, until 9pm, Monday to Saturday, unless there are very compelling reasons against this.
Further information is available on GOV.UK's coronavirus construction update page.
Developers wishing to extend construction hours within Huntingdonshire should to agree an extension with the Local Planning Authority (LPA) in writing and via an exchange of letters/emails. Within this correspondence the LPA will agree the parameters of the work to be undertaken, the locations on the site and the times. On larger sites we may wish to agree certain times for certain areas of a site, or certain activities, such as internal works only.
As part of a request to extend working hours, please provide the following information by email to email@example.com:
- the proposed extended hours of construction
- whether the hours are proposed to relate solely to construction on site or also other activities such as deliveries, or solely internal works
- the locations on the site where extended working hours are proposed.
If we receive complaints from local residents we will retain the right to revisit the agreed details and possibly negotiate alternative arrangements.
We are keen to support restaurants and other businesses who wish to trial operating a pavement cafe or placing tables and chairs on the pavement. For further information, please visit the Pavement Licence page.
In the exceptional circumstances that we are currently facing, the Local Planning Authority (Huntingdonshire District Council) will work pragmatically with businesses where temporary outside tables and chairs can assist with re-opening and recovery of their business.
If it can be achieved in a safe manner, then the temporary change to the use of the private land for siting of tables and chairs in connection with an existing business will not require the submission of a planning application during the recovery period of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The siting of tables and chairs would be considered ancillary to the main use and would also not require formal planning permission during this period.
We reserve the right to review this discretion if any complaints are received and will remove the rights for these temporary measures once social distancing measures are fully relaxed.
Businesses should not attach anything to a building/structure that is a listed building without relevant listed building consent as it is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised works to listed buildings.
The Listed Buildings page has further guidance and information on how to check if your property is a listed building.