Following recommendations made by the British Property Federation, the Government will allow developers with planning permissions granted up until 30 September 2009 to extend their permissions.
The move has been made to boost the industry and to save costs for developers badly hit by the recession. Many developers have put projects on hold over the last year because of difficulties faced in raising the funds.
The original proposals by the Government were restricted to 'major' applications in which development had not already started, but following successful lobbying by the BPF, 'minor' applications are also now extendable from today.
BPF chief executive, Liz Peace, said: "The measure available to all developments, regardless of their size. The property industry needs all the help it can get to beat the recession and get development moving again."
The option of extending a planning permission, without having to re-apply through the usual lengthy and expensive process, will help development and regeneration projects to take place.
Although there are still forms to be filled out, they are a much simplified version of the standard application forms and no plans or drawings will have to be provided, cutting costs even further.
Currently, the application fee for the extended permission will be the same as for a new permission, but this is likely to be substantially reduced later in the year.
Other changes being put in place today include the possibility of applying for non-material changes to be made to an extant planning permission, and the possibility of making a minor material amendment application where there is an existing condition which lists the plans or particular aspects of the development to which a minor material amendment is proposed.