The pace of change in the last week alone as the country finds it's place in the world-wide reaction to the spread of coronavirus.~@
As of this morning there are already 5 new pieces of legislation laid before Parliament which have coronavirus in their title. [Warning: - this is not a planning post per se - but it may raise questions relating back to the planning system].
The Coronavirus Bill 2019-21 is about to have its second reading and debate today. It is an emergency powers Bill. Partly planning related is section 48 - a power to suspend port operations. And for those of us working in planning and property in a public law sense - sections 51 - 55 expand the availability of live links in criminal courts. We don't yet know how long current ways of working are to last and these provisions may set the precedent for our new ways of working.
Section 57 contains the law to postpone the local government elections which were due in May 2020 in the same manner as the regional Mayoral elections.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 make it a requirement to close certain premises and business during the emergency and create offences for not doing so.
The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020 and The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 explicitly draw in those self-isolating into the SSP regime. (More on that from my employment law colleagues).
The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 allows persons to be detained and assessment and other measures; following a declaration that Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health. (Which Mr Hancock has already done - .gov.uk declaration)
I plan to look in more detail separately at the legal amendments being made to allow the planning courts (fast paced move towards video conferencing) and planning appeals (currently stalled - there is the added hurdle of site visits to clear in this forum), and to look at how local planning authorities can continue to make decisions; but what planning specific measures are envisaged?
The government will introduce a time limited permitted development right through secondary legislation (negative SI) to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 - drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months only. Details here but no draft SI as yet. Albeit it is noted that this announcement was made before the government felt it necessary to require all pubs and restaurants to close. The purpose in the press release was to serve those having to stay at home; not necessarily to assist those businesses struggling as a result of social distancing. That has been addressed elsewhere and it remains to be seen whether a change to the Use Classes order will be appropriate.
Should the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 Schedule 2 Part 4 Temporary buildings and uses be updated to reflect that the current requirement for temporary buildings and structures is not the quick temporary creation of schools and flexible uses but the quick (and temporary) extension to warehouses and other storage facilities and the re-purposing of the variety of D use buildings unable to be used for those social or leisure purposes at the current times. If the change is only temporary - should those temporary changes be permitted to larger units than 150 m2?
~@ my first learning curve here - Coronavirus is the name of the virus. COVID-19 is the illness.
pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways to serve people having to stay at home