HC Deb 26 April 2004 vol 420 c33WS
The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill)

The Planning and Compulsory purchase Bill contains provisions to reduce the default period for the commencement of development under a planning permission, listed building consent or conservation area consent from five to three years. This provision is a crucial part of our agenda for speeding up the operation of the planning system.

Local planning authorities have flexibility under existing legislation to vary the length of a permission or consent. This flexibility will remain. The time limit for the commencement of development will normally be three years from the date of permission or consent, but a local planning authority may direct a longer or shorter period as it considers appropriate. Local arming authorities should look favourably upon requests for longer periods of duration where there are valid planning grounds for such a request. There will be cases where three years is unlikely to be long enough to allow developers to complete all the preparation needed before starting work. Longer periods are likely to be appropriate, for example, for complex generation projects.

After the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill has completed its Parliamentary passage, the Government will issue guidance to local planning authorities on the new provisions. In this guidance we will make clear the need for flexibility on the part of local authorities in their dealings with applicants on the duration of permissions and consents.