Shropshire Council

Planning services and coronavirus - latest news

15 May 2020 Last updated at 05:23

Please note, this news item relates to the pandemic situation in 2020, and does not reflect current working arrangements

Shropshire Council and construction working hours during Covid-19 restrictions

Update 14 May 2020 - please take a look at our last news item (dated 24 March 2020) which covers general changes to our Planning team's working practices during the coronavirus outbreak. 

On 13 May 2020, the government published a written ministerial statement on planning and construction working hours.

This statement expects local planning authorities to approve requests to extend construction working hours temporarily to ensure safe working in line with social distancing guidelines until 9pm, Monday to Saturday, unless there are very compelling reasons against this.

Who will be able to benefit from this flexibility?

Developers should expect their local planning authority to grant temporary changes to construction working hours until 9pm or later, six days a week, wherever possible and where construction working hours are controlled by planning condition. This flexibility is in relation to control imposed by the planning system only.

How can a developer benefit from this?

A developer wishing to amend their conditioned construction working hours should contact our Planning department, who will be able to confirm whether they're happy to agree amended working hours informally, or whether you need to submit a formal application, and through which route.

What is the process involved?

Where there are modest or short-term changes to construction working hours, this may be agreed informally with us. We'll use our discretion to not enforce against a breach of working hours. Find out more about our planning enforcement protocol.

Where long or more significant changes to working hours are required, a formal application may be requested by the local planning authority. In doing so, it will be important for applicants to consider potential impacts and, where necessary, to put forward plans to manage concerns, drawing on existing good practice.

How will the local planning authority come to its decision?

We'll be supportive of reasonable requests received by email in writing, and will seek to provide a written response within ten days where possible.

In making its decision local planning authorities may consider where there are unreasonable impacts, but it will reject proposals only where there are very compelling reasons. These reasons could include the significant impact on neighbouring businesses or uses, such as care homes, which are particularly sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, which can't be overcome through other mitigation, or where impacts on densely populated areas would be unreasonable. 

Will extensions to construction working hours into late evening or at weekends be allowed?

The aim is to allow construction work until 9pm, Monday to Saturday. Longer hours may be justified, especially if there are no residential dwellings nearby. However, we'll maintain local discretion, and where there are unreasonable impacts we'll be able to reject proposals to extend construction hours into the late night or on a Sunday. In all cases, sympathetic site management should be demonstrated and we'll require, where appropriate, details of the activities proposed through extended hours to ensure that these won't cause unacceptable levels of disturbance to neighbours by the creation of noise, dust or other disturbance.

Ian Kilby
Head of Planning Services.