Developers given more time to build mothballed sites

Time restraints on planning consents for large developments are to be extended in a move that has been welcomed by the British Property Federation. The economic downturn has led to a fall in the building of offices, factories and homes by property companies, even when they have gained planning permission. Unused permits expire automatically after three years, but housing and planning minister John Healey has said that permits could be extended for another three years through a cheaper and simpler process.

The changes will not allow a developer to change what they are building and apply only to developments that are above 1000 m2 of commercial space or 10 homes.

Francis Salaway, president of the BPF and chief executive of Land Securities, said, ‘Obtaining greater flexibility in the planning system remains a key area of our lobbying, and this announcement is a very welcome victory for common sense. This is one of the measures needed to allow the industry to keep regeneration schemes alive. Many developers will have land ready to develop without the means to finance work immediately. John Healey’s measure are very sensible, and it is clear Government has listened to our advice.’

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