Planning Permission Time Limit Reduced

Monday 3 April 12:34

The Minister for the Environment has agreed a new planning policy to encourage a higher take-up rate of developments that have permission, and to help regenerate St Helier.

Deputy Steve Luce has approved new supplementary planning guidance (SPG) that means planning permissions expire at the end of three years, rather than the current five years.

The policy takes effect from today – so any new permissions granted will expire in three years unless the development has started or an extension to the three years has been granted. If the project hasn’t started within that time, the developer will have to submit a new planning application for approval. It will be assessed in light of current Island Plan policies and any other relevant change in circumstance since the granting of the original planning permission.

If the project has started within the three years, then the permission remains valid but the new guidance will provide a clearer definition of when a development is considered to have begun and the planning permission put into effect.

The changes will also mean the Department of the Environment can respond more swiftly to changes in the economy or to policy changes in other areas.

Deputy Steve Luce said “I’ve introduced this change to encourage a higher take-up rate of developments with permission, and so stimulate the economy and encourage investment – particularly in St Helier.

“Over the years we’ve seen a fair amount of ‘land-banking’ where developers hang on to approved sites waiting for land values to rise or waiting for a more certain economic future, and this slows down development progress and the creation of new homes and offices.  In 2015 alone, planning permissions were extended for a further five years for 417 new dwellings. That’s a lot of new homes and suggests land banking is happening.

“I announced my intention to reduce planning permission from five to three years in 2016. Following that, officers consulted stakeholders, so there’s been some time for developers to get used to the idea that things would be changing and for us to hear and act on their feedback where relevant.”

The new guidance comes into effect today, and will only apply to permissions granted from this point.

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