Planning Update Newsletter: New Planning and Development Guidance

The planning update newsletters begins by reiterating plans for the wider reform of the planning system, however, provides no specific timescales for when changes will be announced. The letter then proceeds to outline a range of changes to the planning system. Of particular importance are the changes included in the Business and Planning Act 2020 and changes to regulations included within the General Permitted Development Order, these have been discussed below.

Business and Planning Act 2020

The recently approved Business and Planning Bill (July 2020) outlines a range of measure to aid businesses, particularly in hard-hit sectors, to return to work in the wake of the Pandemics peak. Included in these measures are some useful tools for developers and landowners in response to an unprecedented situation. They allow for more onsite hours to make up for lost time and extended planning permissions to ensure the deliverability of valuable previously consented schemes. The primary measures introduced by the act are as follows:

Fast track pavement licenses – this is intended to facilitate the delivery of outdoor seating within the hospitality sector. Fees will be capped at £100 and determination periods will be shorter, allow businesses to make this change quickly and at low cost. This is introduced alongside robust enforcement powers within LPAs to ensure control over outdoor seating.

Extending Planning Permissions – Applications due to lapse between 23rd March 2020 and 31st December 2020 will receive an extension to the 1st May 2020. The extension will be automatically applied to permissions which are extant from 19th August to 31st December 2020. Those that have lapsed from 23rd March 2020, and do not fall into this period, can be reinstated.

Construction Site Hours – Variation of Condition fast track for developers that wish to alter conditions relating to construction site working hours from 28th July 2020. LPAs have 14 working days to consider these applications. If approved, the altered construction working hours would apply until 1st April 2020.

Hybrid Appeals – The Planning Inspectorate can now apply more than one type of procedure to appeals dependent on the issues for discussion.

Regulations

The planning update newsletter also addresses recent changes with regards to the Use Class Order and Permitted Development Rights. These were set out in our recent blog ‘Changes to Permitted Development Rights’ following an announcement from the Housing Minister on 21st July 2020 and have now been outlined in more detail in the newsletter. They are summarised as follows:

The new Use Class order allows for easier change of use between high street uses and will come in to force on 1st September 2020.

New Permitted Development Rights to allow of the upward extension of buildings. Namely, the addition of two-storeys on purpose-built freestanding blocks of flats of three storeys or more up to a height of 30m. These regulations will come into force on 1st August 2020. Furthermore, as of the 31st August 2020 Permitted Development Rights will also allow for the upward extension of 2 storeys on existing houses, detached or in a terrace, to create new self-contained homes or additional living space up to a height of 18 metres.

New Permitted Development Rights to allow for vacant and redundant free-standing commercial and light industrial premises, and residential blocks of flats, to be demolished and replaced with new residential units. This will come in to force on 31st August 2020.

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