Permitted Development Rights - are we a step closer to delivering more homes?

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20 October, 2020

The Government has recently implemented two new Statutory Instruments which introduce additional permitted development rights. Both of these rights came into effect on 31 August 2020.

Permanent development rights to add up to two storeys

The first established by The Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2020 allows existing houses to be extended by up to two storeys. There are some restrictions to note; the rights only apply to detached, semi-detached, or terraced houses built between 1 July 1948 and 28 October 2018 and the total height of the building cannot exceed 18m in height. This right does not apply to mixed use only buildings only existing residential dwellings and purpose-built residential flats.

Prior to beginning the development, Condition A2 states that "the developer must apply to the local planning authority for prior approval of the authority as to-

  • transport and highways impact of the development;
  • air traffic and defence asset impacts of the development;
  • contamination risks in relation to the building;
  • flooding risks in relation to the building;
  • the external appearance of the building;
  • the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the new dwellinghouse
  • impact on the amenity of the existing building and neighbouring premises including overlooking, privacy, and the loss of light; and
  • whether because of the siting of the building, the development will impact on a protected view identified in the Directions Relating to Protected Vistas dated 15 March 2012(1) issued by the Secretary of State,

and the provisions of paragraph B (prior approval) of this Part apply in relation to that application.

  • Any development under Class A is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must provide the local planning authority with a report for the management of the construction of the development, which sets out the proposed development hours of operation and how any adverse impact of noise, dust, vibration and traffic on occupiers of the building and adjoining owners or occupiers will be mitigated."

The Order also allows the right for extensions of commercial and mixed use buildings to be extended by up to two storeys to provide new self-contained homes, again these are subject to the same restrictions and prior approval as above.

Permitted development right to demolish and replace

The second new permitted development right, introduced by the Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Order 2020, allows for the demolition of certain buildings and replacement with residential development. This could be either a purpose-built detached block of flats or purpose-built detached dwellinghouse.

The building must not have been constructed after 30 December 1999, must not be listed and must have been vacant for at least six months prior to the application for approval. The building must be either a single purpose built detached block of flats or any single detached building used for office use within Class B1(a); research and development within Class B1(b); or industrial process within Class B1(c).

As with the first additional permitted development right, the developer must apply for prior approval in relation to the conditions (a) to (g) within A2 of the Order above and in addition:

  • impacts of noise from any commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the new dwelling houses;
  • the impact on business and new residents of the development's introduction of, or increase in, residential use in the area in which the development is to take place;
  • the impact of the development on heritage and archaeology;
  • the method of demolition of the old building;
  • the plans for landscaping of the development, including the planting and maintenance of shrubs and trees; and
  • any-
  1. air traffic and defence asset impacts of the development, and
  2. impact that, because of the siting of the new building, the development will have on a protected vista identified in the Directions Relating to Protected Vistas dated 15 March 2012 by the Secretary of State(1),

unless no part of the new building (including plant, radio masts and antennae) occupies airspace not occupied by the old building (including plant, radio masts and antennae).

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP has said:

"These changes will help transform boarded up, unused buildings safely into high quality homes at the heart of their communities. It will mean that families can add up to 2 storeys to their home, providing much needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows."

The introduction of these additional rights enables development of buildings without planning permission. This appears to be a strong step in meeting the Government's objective of delivering more homes, by utilising disused space and adding additional storeys to buildings. Although the prior approval required for the permitted development will ensure certain conditions are met, the question to ask is whether this step will be sufficient to ensure that the developments are built to the required standard that would be set if complying with planning permission. It remains to be seen how effective these rights will be in practice in solving one of the biggest housing problems that we face and delivering more homes.

For more information contact Zayna Ibrahim in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 01772 220226. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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