COVID -19 and the planning process in England – should we expect delays?

Information on Planning Permission Impact from Leading Newcastle Architectural Design Firm

17 Aug COVID -19 and the planning process in England – should we expect delays

Most industries have had to make changes to their processes and the way they work due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I write this information from my own home; which seems to have become the new norm for a number of workers in Britain. A number of clients have been unsure of the impact of the pandemic on planning applications and the planning process in England and the North East, so we have put together a brief bit of information which will hopefully offer some reassurance to those wanting to undertake a home extension, renovation or self-build project.

Former Chief Planner, Steve Quartermain, summarised the situation well, stating that we need to be ‘practical’, ‘pragmatic’ and ‘plan for recovery’. This seems to be exactly the line taken by our local councils (Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside). At Acre Design, we have found that applications are moving forwards at a steady and, on the whole, ‘normal’ pace.

Planners working at our local Councils seem to be keeping up with applications and communications and like many businesses, working from home seems to be suiting their process well. All local councils have been responsive and helpful, which has been reassuring and has enabled us to maintain usual timescales on most of our projects. Some local authorities have taken a little longer to respond than others, however it hasn’t been too problematic for our clients. We have seen a very pragmatic response to the extension of applications due to lapse where this has been necessary.

Understandably, the public can no longer visit a Council office/library or send comments by letter and Acre Design cannot submit hard copy applications at this time. However, this is not our usual process, our preference has always been for a speedier, electronic application.

In addition, temporary legislation has been introduced to assist businesses during the recovery period, for example, by granting temporary permitted development rights for a range of developments that would normally require planning permission. Further guidance on these and other measures introduced to make it easier to operate the planning system at this time  is available on the Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Planning update webpage here :

I hope this offers some reassurance on the impact of Covid-19 on Planning Applications in the UK. We have been delighted by the level of communication and support given by our local Councils during this unusually challenging time and expect no serious delays in coming applications.

As part of our mission to keep our customers updated with industry developments, we will continue to monitor the situation. For more information on the cost of building materials or to find out how we can help design your next residential building development, get in touch with us at Acre Design on 0191 680 8088 or e-mail Our friendly, experienced staff are waiting to take your call.

We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative.
Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free feasibility discussion with Alistair. 

Right from the start, at the “needs and options review” which proved incredibly worthwhile, Alistair and his team have provided professional, thorough and imaginative service. Our project has daunted us in many ways but Alistair has always been on hand to allay any concerns we had. He has been incredibly helpful, full of ideas and specialist advice throughout the process. Our extension has now been granted planning permission and building control approval. Thanks to Acre Design this is looking so much better than anything we could possibly have imagined.

Diana Robson

Contact Acre Build

CAI Building, Royal Quays,
North Shields, NE29 6DE

T: 0191 6808 088