The housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, has announced further measures to ‘reopen’ construction, allowing sites to apply to extend their working hours to 9pm Monday to Saturday
Robert Jenrick made a statement setting out a plan to restart, reopen and renew the construction industry.
He stated: “Steps to support safe housebuilding by allowing more flexible working hours on construction sites, where it’s appropriate and with local consent.
“I am allowing sites to apply to extend their working hours, with immediate effect, to 9pm Monday to Saturday in residential areas and beyond that in on-residential areas and setting out a very clear.
“Government position that these applications should be approved by local councils unless there are very compelling reasons why this is not appropriate.”
Varied start and finish times will make it easier for sites to observe social distancing, it will also take the pressure off public transport.
Jenrick added: “It’s time that the planning system makes more use of digital technology to operate remotely and efficiently during this pandemic.
“I am determined that the planning inspectorate is at the forefront of this work – I welcome the inspectorate now undertaking its first-ever virtual hearings.
“I am asking them to make all hearings virtual within weeks so that the planning system can resume and be made more permanently more accessible and user-friendly.
“This is the most comprehensive restarting of an industry in the first phase of our roadmap with few if any transactions there is no visibility and no precedent with which to accurately judge the state of the housing market, but history tells us that in each economic recovery in modern British economic life the housing market has been key to recovery and revival.”