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Building & Renovation

Planning Permission Minimum Three Years

Wednesday 03 February 2016

The duration of the validity of a planning consent has been increased from two to three years, with an option to increase to five years.

If you are granted planning permission for a construction or renovation project in France until this year there was a two year maximum period allowed for the start of construction works.

If building works do not commence within this period, and then proceed in a regular manner, the authorisation is deemed to have expired.

The government have recently decreed that the validity period for a consent be increased to three years, with the right to renew for two successive years, one year at a time.

It is a change which applies to both planning consents (permis de construire) and for the lesser works declarations (déclaration préalable). It also applies to demolition permits, in the more limited circumstances where these are required.

The change in the law follows a period of experimentation commenced in 2013, when the validity of permits was increased for a further year.

Although the increased flexibility is to be welcomed, if an applicant wishes to prolong the consent beyond three years it is subject to certain constraints.

First, the application must be submitted at least two months prior to expiry of the existing consent.

Second, that no change in planning regulations having unfavourably affected the consent granted have occurred.

Finally, that the applicant starts building works within three years (and make a declaration to that effect), and proceeds in a reasonably regular manner, failing which the planning authority would be entitled to withdraw the consent.

So even if works are started on site within the three-year period, but then ceased for a period of at least a year, planning permission can be deemed to have been rescinded.

As a general rule the local planning authorities take a relaxed attitude to slow progress on site, but this may not always be the case where, for example, neighbours oppose the development.

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