Government announces changes to permitted development rules
The Government has published the long awaited changes to permitted development rules which aim to stimulate development activity for buildings that are vacant or underused.
The Planning Minister, Nick Boles said: ”These changes will bring empty and underused buildings back into productive use; make it easier to bring forward suitable buildings for state-funded schools; allow business and families to extend and improve their premises and homes without the expense of moving; and facilitate delivery of superfast broadband.”
Among the key measures, to come into force on May 30, are controversial plans which will allow offices to be converted into homes without the need for planning permission, allowing larger household extensions under permitted development rights and making it easier for shops and schools to open in certain buildings.
Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, added: “There is huge untapped potential in the many disused existing buildings we have and we’re determined that every one of them is put to good use.
“By simplifying the process and relaxing some stringent rules we can provide a helping hand to those eager to boost their high streets or rural communities by cutting the time and costs needed to start up new businesses.
“We’re also providing a great opportunity for outdated, redundant or underused offices to be brought back to life by converting them into homes, protecting the green belt and countryside at the same time. This will also increase footfall and provide knock-on benefits to the wider community.”
The move has been seen as a positive step for property across the UK but prior approval may still be challenging to navigate according to planning and urban design consultancy Turley Associates.
Stuart Irvine, Director at Turley Associates, commented: “These changes are positive and whilst there are still some questions to be answered about the specific detail, the clear message is that investment is good. The planning system is prepared to take a step back to allow it to take effect but the issue of ‘prior approval’ and how this is interpreted by each Local Planning Authority (LPA) needs to be watched carefully.
“Given the requirements for prior approval, the measures fall somewhere between traditional permitted development rights and a planning permission. There is some question as to whether LPA’s will simply use the prior notification process as a means of requiring planning applications. However the measures are clear on what can be considered. It is notable that reference is made to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) but there is no requirement to consider the local plan.”
The written ministerial statement can be found on the DCLG website.