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Time extensions to planning applications

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Here at Plainview we work on a wide range of planning applications and many of our clients have pressing deadlines. Technically, a council should have 8 weeks to determine a planning application (or 13 weeks to determine a major application). However, a growing number of councils are making a habit of requesting extra time.  

Recent figures from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) shows that 39.5% of minor residential applications involve some form of time extension.

Sometimes there is a perfectly good reason for such a request, but all too often these requests are just buying time for cash strapped councils.

If a time extension is requested then an applicant is often faced with a catch-22 situation.

Option 1 – Decline the request

If you decline the request then the case officer is likely to prioritise those applications that have agreed time extensions. Your application could be left in limbo forcing you to go to non-determination appeal. This process could take 4-9 months depending on appeal type.

Option 2 – Accept the request

If you accept the time extension this may help relations with the case officer, but there is no guarantee that the officer will not ask for additional time extensions in the future.

Option 3 – Conditionally accept the request

If you are minded to accept an unreasonable time extension then be sure to do so on a conditional basis. There is no legal bite to such a structure, but at least it should focus the planning officer’s mind. For example, accepting a 3 week extension, but with the understanding that if a decision is not made within the newly agreed time frame a non-determination appeal will be submitted.

Below is a selection of performance statistics from some of the councils we have worked with recently:

Council

% of applications where time extension required

Cambridge

77%

Wyre

75%

Staffordshire Moorlands

74%

West Dorset

73%

Winchester

70%

Brighton and Hove

62%

Arun

62%

Basingstoke and Deane

61%

Mid Sussex

59%

Greenwich

58%

Reading

57%

Bath and North East Somerset

57%

Chichester

54%

Camden

53%

Malvern Hills

53%

Guildford

50%

Horsham

50%

Tewkesbury

47%

Wychavon

46%

Cotswold

41%

Brent

35%

Braintree

32%

Chelmsford

31%

Stroud

31%

Maldon

30%

Barnet

26%

Source:  MHCLG for year ending September 2017

 

About us

If you are seeking to submit a planning application and need our expertise then we would be more than happy to put a strategy together to give you the best chance of success. We are a knowledgeable and dynamic team of planning consultants with a wealth of experience. Contact the team today at enquiries@plainview.co.uk.