Construction time extension under new government rules

Isle of Wight building sites will be able to operate up until 9pm under new government rules.

The government noted the construction industry needed to be able to adapt its normal practices as a number of developers started sending crews back to work, so have allowed building hours to be extended.

When planning permission is granted, sometimes conditions are enforced that determine when work can be undertaken as to not affect local residents.

Now, in a public letter, the Isle of Wight Council’s strategic manager for planning and infrastructure delivery, Ollie Boulter, confirmed the government’s plans of action and the effect it will have on the Island.

Mr Boulter said: “The Government expects local planning authorities to approve requests to extend construction working hours, where they are controlled by a planning condition, temporarily to ensure safe working in line with social distancing guidelines until 9pm, Monday to Saturday, unless there are very compelling reasons against this.

“I would expect applicants to request this flexibility by contacting the case officer to establish whether they are modest or short-term changes and can therefore be dealt with informally, or whether a formal application to vary the condition would be required.

“I would anticipate any requests will be dealt with informally wherever possible.”

Robert Jenrick, the minister for housing, communities and local government, actively encouraged local planning authorities to take a ‘swift and positive approach’ to requests for greater flexibility around construction site working hours, when it is applied for.

In doing so, the aim is to facilitate safe working and allow tasks to be completed where social distancing can be challenging.

He said: “This is to ensure that, where appropriate, planning conditions are not a barrier to allowing developers the flexibility necessary to facilitate the safe operation of construction sites during the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and to proceed at pace with work otherwise delayed as a result of Covid-19.”

Longer hours, potentially 24-hour construction, has been hinted at by government if there are no residential properties nearby but have left the decision to local authorities.

Government officials have said any requests made should be decided quickly, with an aim of doing so within ten days.