What is proposed for 2019?
As part of the recent Budget, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) published a consultation on further reform to the planning system, specifically the introduction of new permitted development rights to support the high street and increase the delivery of new homes.
Most notable is the suggestion that upward extensions of certain existing commercial and residential buildings could be achieved without planning permission. This idea was originally discussed in 2016, and given further backing in the recent NPPF update. The new permitted development right could be restricted in a number of ways, and MHCLG are seeking views on whether best to allow Local Authorities to determine the ‘prevailing roofline’ of the surrounding area, or whether simply to restrict new heights based on a fixed local point. These extensions will likely be limited to a total (as extended) height of no more than 5-storeys. However, an additional suggestion also considers the opportunity to extend existing flat blocks that are already over 5-storeys, by an additional 5-storeys. These new rights will of course be subject to a typical prior approval process, which will inevitably include a range of caveats and loopholes. However, the cost and scope will be significantly reduced from a traditional planning application, which many will find appealing.
Proposals to make permanent the existing PD rights for warehouse to residential use, and larger home extensions, are also being considered.
For the high street, a change to the Use Classes Order is being considered, to allow Class A1, A2 and A3 uses to operate under a single Class. This change would certainly be welcomed by a number of operators who struggle to pin-point their operation to a single class, and are often penalised by Local Authorities for falling outside of Class A1 use.
Discussion is also underway to facilitate the change of use of Hot-Food Takeaways (Class A5) to residential use, and for Class A1, A2 and A5 uses to change to offices.
The consultation is open until 14 January 2019, and Hybrid welcome to opportunity to provide representations on behalf of interested parties. Please contact Danielle St Pierre (email@example.com) for more information.