Construction time restrictions eased until September 2022
Government announced in a parliamentary statement that, in England, “Wherever possible, local planning authorities should respond positively to requests for flexibility for operation of construction sites to support the sector’s recovery.” The announcement, made on 10th December by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher, applies with immediate effect. This easing of restrictions is deemed necessary given construction output has not returned to pre February 2020 levels. The measures apply in England and aim “to facilitate flexibility within the delivery supply chain and mitigate challenges faced by construction sites.”
They are in force until 30th September 2022, putting them on the same timescale for review as the easing of measures supporting pavement licenses and alcohol off sales for hospitality.
Easing of restrictions in the hospitality sector, badly hit by the pandemic, have led to increased noise complaints from the public which are reaching IOA members. The degree to which communities will be happy to balance the impact on quality of life of extended operating hours for construction, with fears of a more permanent change should economic pressures demand it, will be at the heart of what is a sustainable recovery post pandemic.
The statement contains a reminder that the National Planning Policy Framework emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity, local planning authorities should act proportionately, and that planning conditions that protect residents eg from traffic and noise need to be balanced against the public interest. The purpose of the statement is to make it clear that “local planning authorities should take a positive approach to their engagement with all supply chain stakeholders to ensure planning controls are not a barrier to the supply of all goods and services.”
The statement concludes that Government recognise it may be necessary for action to be taken in relation to the impacts on neighbours of sustained disturbance due to deliveries and construction outside of conditioned hours, particularly where this affects sleep.