The UK Government has announced new powers for councils so that public planning meetings can take place online during social distancing measures. 

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Image: Energepic

If you've embarked on a self-build project, the coronavirus outbreak will have undoubtedly affected your project's timeline. However, this isn't only the case if your building work has started, but also if you're in the planning stages, as many industries have ground to a halt during social distancing measures. 

However, the Government has announced some relief for those seeking planning permission as it has given councils the power to now host planning meetings virtually. 

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick MP explained: "It’s critical that [local authorities] continue to provide essential services and find innovative ways to maintain important economic functions they perform like the planning system and they will now be able to do so."

How will it work?

The power went into action on Saturday 4th April, so local councils can now run these virtual meetings, but at present it's up to them individually how these are hosted, how votes are cast and how the public can be granted access. It's early days, so you can expect some more formal guidance from the Local Government Association to follow that councils can use to make best use of the virtual setting. Certain rules will still apply, including requirement of a number of councillors and members of specific groups for the meeting to be valid, but virtual attendance will count. 

While this will help to avoid a back log of planning applications, it may still be some time before those granted planning permission are able to start building. 

 

Do you currently have an application for planning permission pending? Let us know how you're coping by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page

 

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