A Statutory Instrument came in to force on 4th April 2020 to give Councils the power to conduct remote planning meetings.  In brief, the Statutory Instrument states that local authorities are now free to hold their meetings remotely, with councillors, members of the public and press able to access meetings through remote means such as video conferencing, live webcast and live interactive streaming facilities.

As a result of the Government’s lock down on social gatherings and non-essential business, physical council meetings have been postponed or cancelled, leaving major planning applications undetermined. This Statutory Instrument changes that, and it is great news for a host of groups within the property sector. It means that property developers in particular, can continue to push current and future development schemes through the planning process during the current lockdown. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has pushed councils to respond quickly in coping with the lockdown, and implement a technological strategy that means traditional tasks are completed and managed as usual.  In these times, more and more people are relying on, and have integrated the use of technology into their daily lives through smart devices which saw the property sector lag behind.  This Statutory Instrument transforms the archaic way in which local councils have been conducting business for years, and is an encouraging sign of the property sector taking steps to move with the times and address the demand for making use of technology as part of daily practice; a welcome shift from the traditional way of working to a more flexible one that will continue to benefit the property sector in the future.

There aren’t currently updates on this new legislation on the websites for Trafford Council, Manchester City Council, Cheshire East and Cheshire West but it will be interesting to see how each local authority and Parish Council handles these changes and how swiftly they will implement them, if at all.  It will be in their best interest to move quickly in order to prevent a backlog of planning applications piling up during this time. 

 

Further information

Should you require any further information you can contact a member of our dedicated Real Estate team on 0161 941 4000 or at lawyers@myerson.co.uk