You may be aware that last week the government announced that it was allowing construction work to continue until 9.00pm weekdays and all day Saturdays.
I have managed to secure the following statement form the City of London Corporation.
We understand residents’ concerns on the impact of the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Robert Jenrick’s, statement advising local planning authorities to review applications from contractors for an extension to site working hours. The City Corporation has robust procedures in place for considering any request and can see that, in the current circumstances, any extension of working hours for noisy activities at construction sites in residential areas would have an impact on residents in their homes. Under our current policies, applications for extended hours to enable social distancing on sites very near residences are unlikely to be approved.
At the City Corporation, construction arrangements are generally restricted by planning condition requiring construction to be carried out in accordance with an approved Scheme (to be based on the Code of Practice for Deconstruction and Construction Sites approved by Planning and Transportation Committee and Port Health Committee in March 2019).
The Code of Practice specifies working hours restrictions and allows for variations to hours where approved by Environmental Health Officers in the Pollution Control Team. This Code seeks to protect residents from undue disturbance.
The mechanism for developers to seek variations to specified hours under the Schemes approved pursuant to planning conditions is therefore by making a variation request to the Pollution Control Team in accordance with the Code of Practice and approved Scheme.
For the moment, it is proposed that the Pollution Control Team continue to process applications as they do currently. Further consideration will be given as to what weight to place on the ministerial statement and how that may modify approvals, noting that as the Schemes are approved pursuant to planning conditions, primacy will be given to adopted planning policy including DM 15.7 requiring site noise to be minimised to limit disturbance.
The Port Health & Environmental Services Committee and Planning and Transportation Committee will be consulted about any potential changes to normal practice.
Any variations to the above will only be in exceptional circumstances and if the City Corporation perceives there to be a significant impact to residents, then residents will also be consulted by the contractor.
We hope that goes some way to reassure residents that any application for extended working hours made by any construction site would be reviewed fairly and considerately with due regard for the impact on local residents, noise, dust and vibration, and in accordance with the directive in the Ministerial Statement.