How Long Does Planning Permission Last For?

When does planning run out for your home renovation project?

Planning permission

Going through the process of applying for – and sometimes appealing for – planning permission can be a stressful one, and it often adds a delay to the completion of renovation works; not least because it’s common not to be able to start until it’s granted.
But should homeowners look to apply for such permission before or after they hire a team of contractors to work on their renovation, extension or development… or should they wait until it’s been given? Read on for all you need to know…

Is Planning Permission Time Limited?

The property market and property developments are ever-changing, and for this reason, planning permission is time limited.
In the UK, there are standard default dates for planning permission expiry. In England, this is three years, Scotland three years, and Wales five years – although these are all subject to vary and can be changed at any time (not affecting those who have a set expiry date already). It should be noted that the expiry date for planning permission is from the date it was granted and not the date that building work begins; so the homeowner or developer must ensure that the project is initiated as soon as possible once received.

Why is there expiry dates on Planning Permission?

Planning permission has an expiry date for several reasons.
Firstly, it allows for local and national government to plan ahead based on what they know is or has been build in any given geographic location. It also ensures that their current appetites for development are met and that they don’t find projects are completed long past the time they were deemed appropriate, in order to keep up with current regulations and best practice guidelines.
Expiry dates on planning permission rights needn’t be considered a bad thing for the homeowners or developers looking to use them: if anything, it helps galvanise the commencement of work on proposals and ensure that works are completed in a reasonable timeframe.

What happens if work doesn’t begin by the time the Planning Permission expires?

If a suitable start isn’t made on the development, extension or renovation before the expiry date of the planning permission (and by ‘suitable’, this means deemed suitable by the Local Planning Authority), permission will have to be applied for again.
You can not renew planning permission, but will have to undergo the entire formal application process again.
It is absolutely always advised that work begins as soon as possible once planning permission rights have been granted; particularly with plots of lands. A second application for planning permission made simply because work didn’t start is more likely to be denied than a first, and this could very easily leave the homeowner or developer with land that they can’t build on – rendering its purchase futile and its value plunging. 

Can Planning Permission expiry dates be extended or postponed?

Generally speaking, Local Planning Authorities will not extend an expiry date for planning permission once it has been granted; but it may vary from the locale’s default periods dependent on the specifics of the proposal made.
For example, if building work is likely to take a long time and would exceed the standard expiry period, this can be discussed with the Local Planning Authority during the application and it built in to the agreement. 
There have been times where temporary extension provisions have been made; for example during the ‘exceptional circumstances’ of the coronavirus pandemic. It is, however, impossible to accurately assess when such extensions will be introduced and where they are, they are usually time limited and restricted to certain criteria and specific situations.

My Planning Permission is about to expire and we haven’t started work yet. What can we do?

If you’re able to, make a material start on the project.
When work on a proposal has begun, the planning permission can be considered ‘locked in’ and will last indefinitely as it is completed; provided there are no delays that the Local Planning Authority judges to be unnecessary and no ‘eyesores’ created as a result of the project’s progress.
There is no exact definition for a ‘material start’ or ‘suitable start’, but generally speaking, enough effort needs to have exerted to demonstrate to the Local Planning Authority that progress is being made and the intention is for the project to go ahead. Depending on the specifics of the proposal made, this could site clearance, breaking ground, the first instance of a new use or the start of an activity or operation.

What if the Local Planning Authority doesn’t believe enough work has been carried out before the Planning Permission expiry date?

If a Local Planning Authority decides that the start on the project isn’t sufficient to demonstrate fair progress, they can issue a ‘completion notice’. This will specify a deadline for the project’s full completion – and if this is not met, then the homeowner or developer will lose their planning permission and be required to either clear the works, or re-apply.
Completion notices are currently used very rarely as they have to be agreed by a national government body; so are really only issued in extreme circumstances. However, there is currently a governmental workforce looking into the monitoring of such development projects and the enforcement of regulation around them, so in the long term we are likely to see the approach made easier for Local Planning Authorities to use.

Does Planning Permission add value to a property?

If you’re intending on selling land or a property, those listings with full or outline planning permission do tend to sell for significantly higher amounts than those without – because it guarantees the opportunity for development and further financial gain.
In most cases, it is advised that the £426 planning permission application fee is worth paying in order to obtain at least planning conditions, as it is likely to add considerably more value than that invested into the administration.

Does Refresh Renovations work on Planning Permission?

If planning permission is required for a renovation, extension or development project, the Refresh Project Manager will manage the full application and appeal process as part of their role – so get in touch if you’d like us to take the hassle right out of your hands!

Want to learn more?

Get in touch with your local Refresh Renovations team!

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