The Business and Planning Bill has been passed by Government on 22 July 2020, this allows building sites to apply to extend their working hours to enable construction work to be undertaken safely in line with the new Covid-19 Secure guidelines.
The bill has amended the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 by adding, under Section 74, a fast track deemed consent to allow local planning authorities to review and vary existing working hour conditions. This is to ensure that, where appropriate, planning conditions are not a barrier to allowing developers the flexibility necessary to facilitate the safe operation of construction sites during the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and to proceed at pace with work otherwise delayed as a result of Covid-19. Developers should expect their local planning authority to approve temporary changes to construction working hours until 1 April 2021, wherever possible and where construction working hours are controlled by planning conditions. This flexibility is in relation to controls imposed by the planning system only.
The current standard hours of working imposed by East Cambridgeshire District Council imposed as a condition on development sites are:
Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm, Saturday 7:30am to 1:00pm, and not on Sundays, Public Holidays or Bank Holidays.
The Government has produced a document with questions and answers relating to this (external link).
The developers must apply to the Council, using the application form (PDF) below or providing all the information in another format and send to email@example.com. The information required includes:
- the planning permission reference number to which the application relates;
- the number of the condition the request relates to or the approved document, such as Construction Management Plan (CEMP), which details the working hours;
- the existing agreed construction working hours;
- the proposed revised construction working hours;
- the date the revised construction working hours should take effect;
- the date on which the revised construction working hours should cease to have effect (no later than 1 April 2021)
- a short justification of why the extended hours are necessary;
- how they are proposing to operate and the type of activity beyond the existing authorised hours;
- details of any mitigation measures that will be put in place;
- a proportionate assessment of the likely impact of construction noise upon sensitive uses near the site;
- communication arrangements that will be put in place to ensure that there is an open dialogue between the developer/site manager and local residents and businesses.
The application will then be considered in consultation with Environmental Health Officers and Ward Councillors.
Applications to extend working hours should be proportionate and should not involve working on Sundays, public or bank holidays.
On receipt of the application the Council will provide a decision to the developer within 10 working days.
Where an application is approved, the decision from the Council will advise the following:-
- The changes to the working hours agreement end date (which shall not extend beyond 1 April 2021)
- The developer will be expected to communicate directly with local residents and/or businesses that might be affected by extended working hours to establish open lines of communication so that if any problems do arise, the developer can respond and resolve the issues quickly.
Where an application for temporary change to construction working hours condition is refused, the LPA will explain the reason(s) for this and there is a right of appeal under Section 78(1)(ab).