Symonds & Sampson lobby the secretary of state

Symonds & Sampson have written to Robert Jenrick Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on behalf of 47 clients, to ask him to consider extending the time limit for the commencement of planning permissions.

Symonds & Sampson lobby the secretary of state

Head of development and new homes Calton Stockley says: many planning permissions were granted during the Brexit negotiations but sites were difficult to sell when there was so much uncertainty about the economy, supply of materials and the availability of labour.

Now the deadlines for developers to make a start on site are looming but with a lot of architects, quantity surveyors, planning consultants and council officials on furlough it has been a challenge to get detailed plans approved let alone start work on site.

We hope our professional bodies, including the royal institution of chartered surveyors, supports our campaign.
If you would like to add your name to the list of people supporting this campaign please email

The letter says:

Dear Sir

Planning permission time limits

Most developments are required to start within three years of the planning permission being granted either through the specific imposition of a condition attached to the planning permission or through the general condition contained in section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. If work doesn't start the permission will lapse.

However, the lockdown imposed by COVID -19 has brought forward many challenges and in many cases commencement of the construction has been delayed. A fresh planning application will have high costs.

Due to the lockdown period there is an expectation that we could see a shortage of construction materials; this combined with many staff at the Council offices being furloughed, obtaining agreement for redesigns, building regulations and detailed permissions may result in existing planning permissions expiring?

Can you also speed up the planning response to applications. In Dorset Council’s area some applications are taking up to a year to reach the committee stage. Evidence of this can be provided. This has a dramatic effect on the delivery of new homes, the local employment in both site labour and the manufacture on materials.

Many architects, quantity surveyors and planning consultants have been furloughed meaning that planning conditions cannot be met before the deadlines.

We ask that you consider an extension to all planning permissions granted in the last three years and understand that the approach in Scotland has provided welcome flexibility.

We also seek further encouragement for planning authorities to take a positive and proactive approach to MMC forms of housing, especially in a situation where the traditional construction sector is struggling with materials/skills and capacity.

Yours faithfully


Senior Partner Symonds & Sampson

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