Garden centres can extend planning permission to beat recession

Garden centres and retail nurseries have a chance to extend planning permission after a change to the planning system, which came into force on 1 October.

Malcolm Scott consultants partner Helen Scott says "extension permissions" can now be made for extant, or "live", planning permissions, where development has not begun.  It will enable such planning permissions which were extant on 1 October 2009 to be replaced before they expire.

This is to allow a longer period for implementation and is a Government response to the reduction in the implementation rate of schemes which have planning permission. The lapse of three-year limited permissions is coinciding with the downturn.  The consequences are that the time and money spent obtaining the permissions will be wasted and permissions will no longer be there to be implemented when the upturn comes.

There is a flat-rate application fee payable of £500 for major development, and £170 for minor development. But the changes to the fees regulations have not yet been made.  Until they are made (November at the earliest), the full application fee will be payable.

Scott said: "It is safer to implement the permission lawfully, having got permission for predevelopment conditions. There is no obligation on the council to give you an extension permission. New policies, especially those related to climate change, may be taken into account. Nor is the time period for extension set out.  But if time is at a premium, it will be prudent to make an application for an extension permission. Or more prudent still to proceed on both fronts."


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