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Up, up and away: permitted development changes

30 July 2020

What is clear, however, is home and landowners will shortly have an array of new options at their disposal. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you decode the planning jargon and see how the changes may affect your plans.

Katy Lister Assistant Planner London

I came across a useful quote recently: “In the age of disruption, businesses live and die by their ability to adapt”.

Given the pace of change the planning system is set to undergo, and the circumstances in which this is happening, there is a need to quickly understand the Government’s planning reforms, take them in our stride, update clients and adapt strategies where necessary.

Following on from Helen’s article last week which looked at changes to the Use Class Order, this week we look at the amendments to residential Permitted Development Rights (PDR).

In March 2020, the Government published “Planning for the Future”, a paper which stated that new rules would be introduced to encourage upwards construction and allow the demolition of vacant buildings on brownfield sites to be rebuilt as new residential units.

Last week, the Government formally announced the amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (“the General Permitted Development Order”) as part of a series of major reforms to the planning system.  

PDR allow certain forms of work to be undertaken without the need to apply for planning permission, saving both money and time.

The changes fall in line with the Government’s “Build Build Build” agenda, to help stimulate activity in the construction sector, encourage regeneration and enable the continuous supply of new homes without the hassle of going through the usual planning process.

Both changes are subject to a prior approval process from the Local Planning Authority, which will consider matters such as the noise impacts, transport and highways impacts and flooding. Reports in the press suggest that councils could increase their fees for the prior approval process, though it is still likely to cost far less than a typical application.

The first major change, which comes into effect on 31 August, introduces four new PD rights which allow the upwards construction of up to two new storeys to enable:

“Class AA - new dwelling houses on detached buildings in commercial or mixed use
Class AB - new dwelling houses on terrace buildings in commercial or mixed use
Class AC - new dwelling houses on terrace buildings in use as dwelling houses
Class AD - new dwelling houses on detached buildings in use as dwelling houses”

Notably, the new rights are subject to restrictions and limitations. Class AA does not apply to buildings that were constructed before 1 July 1948 or after 28 October 2018. Classes AB, AC and AD do not apply to buildings that were constructed before 1 July 1948 or after 5 March 2018. Other restrictions include dwelling houses on Article 2(3) Land (protected land, e.g. a conservation area), listed buildings and the height of the proposed extension.

The second of these changes under Class ZA enables the “Demolition of buildings and construction of new dwelling houses in their place.” This also comes into effect on 31 August 2020. It seeks to enable the transformation of vacant brownfield commercial buildings into new homes.

Limitations and restrictions also apply, such as the requirement for the building to have been vacant for six months immediately before the application for prior approval, and for the replacement building to be contained within the footprint of the old building.

It remains to be seen whether these relaxations in regulations will deliver the quantity of new homes the country requires. There is also a lively debate, spurred by research published by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on the quality control of homes created through PD rights.

What is clear, however, is home and landowners will shortly have an array of new options at their disposal. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you decode the planning jargon and see how the changes may affect your plans.

Katy Lister is an Assistant Planner in Planning Potential's specialist residential team. For insight, advice, or to share your views on Katy's article above, get in touch on 020 7357 8000 or [email protected]