C19 – Building Britain

by Rob Stokes

Published on 30th June 2020

There are important changes for the construction industry.

NEW PLANS TO GET BRITAIN BUILDING IN CORONAVIRUS RECOVERY

The Government is to extend planning permission deadlines, saving construction projects’ permissions from expiring and introduce Flexible working hours on construction sites to support social distancing, helping people return to work safely.

There are new changes to speed up the pace of the planning appeal process.

Planning permission deadlines will be extended, planning appeals will be sped up and builders will be allowed more flexible working hours following agreement with their local council.

Planning permission usually expires after three years if work has not started onsite. Sites with consent that have an expiry date between the start of lockdown and the end of this year will now see their consent extended to 1 April 2021. This will prevent work that has been temporarily disrupted by the pandemic from stopping altogether.   

The government estimates that by the end of this month alone, more than 400 residential permissions providing more than 24,000 new homes would have expired. The new measures will help these developments and more resume as the economy recovers.

New measures will also permanently grant the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) the ability to use more than one procedure – written representations, hearings and inquiries – at the same time when dealing with a planning appeal, enabling appeals to happen much faster.

Last year a pilot programme tested this approach and implemented recommendations of the Rosewell Review, which more than halved the time taken for appeal inquiries, from 47 weeks to 23 weeks.

This will also help builders to agree more flexible construction site working hours with their local council for a temporary period. This will make it easier to follow public health guidance onsite and by staggering builders’ arrival times, public transport will be less busy, and the risk of infection will be reduced.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-plans-to-get-britain-building-in-coronavirus-recovery?utm_source=54854b02-b444-40b8-9639-2530955c296c&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

CHANGES TO NOTIFYING AN OPTION TO TAX LAND AND BUILDINGS DURING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

If you are notifying HMRC of a decision to opt to tax land and buildings, you are normally required to notify them within 30 days by either:

  • printing and sending HMRC the notification, signed by an authorised person within the business
  • emailing a scanned copy of the signed notification

Social distancing in response to coronavirus has made these rules challenging to follow. HMRC have temporarily changed the rules to help businesses and agents.

HMRC have temporarily extended the time limit to 90 days from the date the decision to opt was made. This applies to decisions made between 15 February and 31 October 2020.

You can email notifications to optiontotaxnationalunit@nullhmrc.gov.uk.

See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/changes-to-notifying-an-option-to-tax-land-and-buildings-during-coronavirus-covid-19?utm_source=84410ce1-23cc-4d2e-bc1b-553aac49636c&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

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