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Planning Legislation Changes and Amendments

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No 2) Order 2020

The explanatory Memorandum is here.

This Order makes various amendments to the GPDO 2015 and allows for existing houses to be extended to provide more living space by constructing up to two additional storeys. It also introduces permanent permitted development (PD) Rights to allow the construction of up to two additional storeys on detached buildings and on buildings in a terrace that are houses or in certain commercial uses, to create additional self-contained homes.

The first set of amendments to the GPDO introduces a series of new classes of permitted development into Parts 1 and 20 of Schedule 2 of the 2015 Order (as amended), coming into force at 9.00am on 31 August 2020.

The principle in each case is that the construction of up to two additional storeys of new residential accommodation (or one storey if the case of an existing building that is only single-storey) is permitted development subject to the prior approval of certain matters by the local planning authority.  Where the new accommodation is an extension to an existing dwelling it may be to enlarge the dwelling (Part 1, Class AA) or to create additional dwellings in the form of flats (Part 20, Classes AC and AD).

The permission in Part 1 is subject to a number of conditions and limitations.  They include that the prior approval of the local planning authority must be obtained for certain detailed matters, that the permission is only available in the case of existing dwellings constructed between 1 July 1948 and 28 October 2018 (other than those developed as a result of a change of use in accordance with other provisions in the GPDO which are excluded) and that the permission is subject to an overall limitation on height and/or on the overall increase in height and on the maximum floor to ceiling height of the extension. The scope of prior approval under Part 1 includes the impact on the amenity of any adjoining premises, the external appearance of the dwellinghouse, air traffic and defence asset impacts and impacts on certain protected views.

The permissions in the new classes in Part 20 are only available in the case of buildings constructed between 1 July 1948 and 5 March 2018 and are subject to similar conditions and limitations, including that prior approval must be obtained for various detailed matters and that the permission is subject to limits on overall height etc.  The scope of prior approval under Part 20 includes in relation to extensions to commercial buildings, impacts from noise from any commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the new dwellings and impacts from an increase in residential use on the carrying out of any trade, business or other use in the area.

In summary, the changes are:

In Part 1

Class AA – enlargement of a dwellinghouse by the construction of additional storeys

In Part 20

Class AA – new dwellinghouses on detached buildings in commercial or mixed use

Class AB – new dwellinghouses on terrace buildings in commercial or mixed use

Class AC – new dwellinghouses on terrace buildings in use as dwellinghouses

Class AD – new dwellings on detached buildings in use as dwellinghouses

Details include:

  • PD Rights for upwards extension of existing houses which are detached, semi-detached or in a terrace can be extended upwards to provide additional living space (amongst other things):
  • Allows the construction of up to 2 additional storeys on the topmost storey of houses of 2 storeys or more, or 1 additional storey on houses of 1 storey, above ground level.
  • Subject to a maximum height limit for the newly extended house of 18 metres, and where the house is in a terrace its height cannot be more than 3.5 metres higher than the roof of every other building in the row.
  • Does not apply to Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monuments (or land within their curtilages), as well as Article 2(3) Land (Conservation Areas, World Heritage Sites, National Parks, etc.) 
  • Does not apply to dwelling-houses built before 1July 1948 or after 28 October 2018
  • For upwards extensions to dwelling-houses, a condition is imposed that the materials used in any exterior work must be of similar appearance of the materials used in the construction of the existing house.
  • For upwards extensions to detached buildings in commercial or mixed use; or terraced buildings, prior approval is required as to the external appearance of the building
  • Prior approval is required for all upwards extensions in this PD right, although the provisions vary they do include amongst other things:
    • the design and architectural features of the extension
    • impact on the amenity of the neighbouring premises including overlooking, privacy and the loss of light
  •  PD Rights for the construction of new self-contained homes by allowing additional storeys to be constructed on detached buildings and on buildings in a terrace in certain commercial uses, and in mixed uses with an element of housing. They also allow additional storeys to be constructed on existing houses which are detached or in a terrace (which includes semi-detached houses) to create new self-contained homes (amongst other things):
  • Up to 2 additional storeys of new homes can be constructed on the topmost storey of existing, detached, free-standing commercial or mixed use
  • Buildings of 3 storeys or more above ground level. This is subject to a maximum height limit for the newly extended building of 30m.
  • Where buildings are in a terrace (of 2 or more attached buildings) it allows upwards extensions to create new self-contained homes: up to 2 additional storeys of new homes can be constructed on the topmost storey of a building of 2 storeys or more above ground level, or 1 additional storey on a building of 1 storey. The overall height of the building when it is extended cannot be greater 18 metres and no more than 3.5 metres higher than the highest part of the roof of every other building in the row of the terrace.
  • Exemptions and Prior Notifications are as above: i.e. Listed Buildings, SAMs, Conservation Areas and WHSs, etc. are excluded. 

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No 3) Order 2020

Explanatory memorandum is here.

Summary

This Order amends the GPDO 2015 in England by inserting into Part 20 a new permitted development right Class ZA.  This introduces a new PD Right to allow for the demolition of certain types of buildings and construction of a replacement building as residential, while allowing for local consideration of key planning matters.

The second set of amendments to the GPDO introduces a new Class ZA to Schedule 2, Part 20 of the GPDO coming into force at 10:00am on 31 August 2020 under the heading: ‘demolition of buildings and construction of new dwellinghouses in their place’.

The permitted development within the class is the demolition of one or other of a single purpose-built detached block of flats and any other single detached building comprising premises established for B1 use and existing on 12 March 2020 together with its replacement by a single building  consisting of one or other of a purpose-built detached block of flats or a purpose-built detached dwellinghouse and the associated operations.

Details include:

  • The right will apply to vacant (for at least 6 months before prior approval application) free-standing buildings that fell within the B1(a) offices, B1 (b) research and development, B1 (c) industrial processes (light industrial), and free-standing purpose-built residential blocks of flats (C3) use classes.  The right therefore does not apply to terraced buildings, detached dwelling houses, or to mixed use buildings other than those above.
  • The right will apply to those buildings constructed before 1 January 1990.
  • The right does not require detailed consideration of the condition of the building in respect of redundancy. It allows for redevelopment of a single new building within the footprint of buildings with a footprint of up to 1,000 square metres.
  • The height of the new residential building should not exceed the lower of 7 metres above the height of the old building, or 18 metres above ground level.
  • It does not apply to Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monuments (and within their curtilages, as well as Article 2(3) Land (Conservation Areas, World Heritage Sites, National Parks, etc.)
  • Prior approval is required for, amongst other things:
    • the design of the new building
    • external appearance of the new building
    • transport and highway impacts
    • impact from noise from commercial premises
    • the impact of the development on the amenity of the new building and of neighbouring premises, including overlooking, privacy and light
    • the impact of the development on heritage and archaeology
    • method of demolition of the existing building

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No 4) Order 2020

The Memorandum is here.

This fourth amendment to the GPDO comes into force on 30 December 2020.

The Order amends class A (new dwellinghouses on detached blocks of flats) and class AA (new dwellinghouses on detached buildings in commercial or mixed use) in Part 20 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 by introducing a requirement for a developer seeking prior approval in relation to an existing building, which is 18 metres or more in height, to provide a report from a chartered engineer or other competent professional confirming that the external wall construction of the existing building complies with paragraph B4(1) of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/2214).  Paragraph B4(1) requires that "the external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls and from one building to another, having regard to the height, use and position of the building".

There are transitional and saving provisions applicable where a prior approval application was made or prior approval event occurred before 30 December 2020.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

The explanatory Memorandum.

These 2020 Regulations make a number of changes to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 and come into force partly on 3 December 2020, 1 January 2021, and fully on 6 April 2021.

The 2020 Regulations make several principal amendments to the GPDO:

Compliance with nationally described space standards

Article 3 of the 2020 Regulations requires all new dwellinghouses, constructed under permitted development rights, to be no smaller than the sizes set out by the Department of Communities and Local Government in March 2015 in their document entitled ‘Technical housing standards – nationally described space standards’.

The Government have acknowledged that some developers have used permitted development rights to provide housing that is far too small. Article 3 intends to target this issue, requiring all new homes delivered under permitted development rights to be a minimum size of 37m2 and satisfy the nationally described space standards set out in the Department of Communities and Local Government’s March 2015 document.

This requirement will come into effect on 6 April 2021 and will apply to applications for prior approval submitted on or after this date.

Extended rights for the provision of takeaway food

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government introduced a number of temporary permitted development rights. One of these temporary PD rights was to allow restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments to provide takeaway food until March 23 March 2021. Subject to there not being a not a condition attached to a planning permission that prevents the use of the premises as a takeaway, the new 2020 Regulations now extend this period to 23 March 2022.

There is no obligation of businesses to re-notify the Council that their premises will be providing a takeaway service for a longer period than first planned, if they notified the Council prior to the extension of this right.

After the 23 March 2022, the premises currently using this permitted development right will revert back to its original use.

Prevention of demolishing venues

Class B of Part 11, Schedule 2 of the GPDO permitted ‘any building operation consisting of the demolition of a building.’

Regulation 6 of the new 2020 Regulations excludes the demolition of a concert hall, a live music venue or theatre from Class B. Instead, from 3 December 2020, the proposed demolition of such venues would need to be considered as part of a planning application.

Temporary use of land

From 1 January 2021, Regulation 4 of the new 2020 Regulations will amend the ‘relevant period’ of Class BA, Part 4, Schedule 2 of the GPDO.

Currently, Class BA, Part 4, Schedule 2 allows for land to be used temporarily for no more than 28 days within the relevant period of 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020. No more than 14 days within the 28 day period can be used for markets or for motor car or motorcycle racing. The new 2020 Regulations will now extend the relevant period until 31 December 2021.

However, if the developer is also a local authority, Regulation 5 of the new 2020 Regulations amends Class DA, Part 4, Schedule 2 of the GPDO to allow local authorities to hold a market for any number of days until 23 March 2022.

Development for the purposes of an emergency

Earlier this year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the GPDO was amended to provide authorities, health service bodies and the Crown with temporary permitted development rights to respond to the emergency.

The new 2020 Regulations have extended the period in which these PD rights can be used:

Regulation 8, amends Class A, Part 12A, Schedule 2 of the GPDO to extend the right for local authorities and health service bodies to carry out development on land owned, occupied or maintained by them for the purposes of addressing emergencies from 31st December 2020 until 31st December 2021.

Regulation 9 amends Class Q, Part 19, Schedule 2 of the GPDO to extend the current time limit for removing buildings, plant, machinery and other permitted erections and restoring land to its original condition where development is carried out by or on behalf of the Crown for the purpose of dealing with emergencies from 6 months to 12 months. The requirement to restore the land to its original condition is now no longer necessary so long as the development is authorised by virtue of permitted development rights under Schedule 2 of the GPDO or following the grant of planning permission.

Regulation 10 introduces a new additional Class QA to Part 19 of Schedule 2 of the GPDO. Class QA makes provision for development carried out by the Crown relating to a pandemic.