Good practice in the use of extension of time agreements
Local authorities should ensure that they have robust procedures in place to ensure that if any application seems likely to require additional time to reach a satisfactory outcome, the case officer takes the earliest opportunity to discuss the situation with the applicant and an extension of time is agreed.
The agreements do not need to be complicated or time-consuming to create. PAS has developed 2 examples of an agreement for the extension of time to determine an application which satisfies the government's reporting requirements and help LPAs to feel more confident in actively managing the application process.
In summary an extension of time agreements needs:
• to be agreed between the council and the applicant or agent acting on the applicant's behalf
• to be recorded in writing
• to set out an end date by which time the planning application will be completed determined and a decision letter issued – including the completion of a s106 agreement
• to encapsulate a realistic timetable assuming that both parties are working with goodwill to complete satisfy issues and determine the application in the shortest time given the resources available.
An extension of time agreement can be completed at any point between registration and determination, so long as the applicant has not registered an appeal against non-determination. For it to count in the statistical performance returns, the extension of time agreement needs to be registered in the authority's planning data records prior to determination.
To answer some of the other questions about the use of extension of time agreements, there is a short question and answer sheet dealing with the concerns that both councils and development industry representatives have told us about.