Cheffins has seen that the number of planning permissions which have expired are increasing as the government’s extension to deadlines came to an end on 1st April 2021.

Under the changes which were announced by Robert Jenrick, housing secretary in June 2020, planning approvals with an expiration date of between the start of lockdown in March and the end of this year were extended to 1st April 2021, in order to allow projects which were put into jeopardy due to coronavirus to be started. However, there have been a number of planning approvals which recently have expired, causing a headache for planners, local councils and those applying for permissions.

Under planning rules, development permissions usually expire after three years if work has not yet been started, and getting the permission approved again is not always a simple process.

Claire Shannon, Associate at Cheffins says:

“We have seen an increase in the number of planning permissions which have expired in recent weeks, which has caused a number of issues for not only those who have applied for these approvals but also for local councils. As local councils try to deal with a monumental backlog of work, thanks to coronavirus and short staffing, getting a planning permission approved once it has expired is not always a simple process. Anyone who currently has a planning permission for either a large-scale development or even a small individual project, should be mindful of its expiration date and be aware that it is not guarantee that it will be approved a second time around.”

“Usually, if a planning permission expires, most applicants will have to pay the application fee again and also incur significant additional fees. There are a number of factors which could cause a permission to not be agreed for a second time, such as changes to ecological surveys or these having expired, which is usually within 12 – 18 months. On a more macro level, changes to National and Local Policy may also come into effect. For example, affordable housing thresholds may have increased as part of a new Local Plan or perhaps an agreed permission doesn’t now take into account certain new criteria, such as minimum space standards or requirements when it comes to biodiversity or climate change.”

“These issues particularly come into play for those looking to sell land with planning permission already in place. It is essential to get the parcel sold way ahead of the planning permission expiration date, or to apply for the permission to be granted in perpetuity, which will come with a Community Infrastructure Levy payment attached, which can often cost tens of thousands of pounds. It is also important to consider that should the site be located outside of settlement limits where the council did not have a five-year housing land supply when permission was granted, the council’s position may have changed during the permission’s lifetime, and therefore it would not be guaranteed to be approved again.”

For anyone looking for more information or guidance on the lifetime of planning permissions, contact the Cheffins Planning Team on