UK: Further Amendments To Permitted Development Rights

Last Updated: 8 April 2014
Article by Rosalind Packham

On 6 April 2014, permitted development rights are to be amended to enable additional changes of use and associated building works to take place particularly in respect of bringing forward increased opportunities for residential development where currently planning permission would be required. Most of the additional rights will require notification and prior approval of the local planning authority (LPA) before change of use can take place.

However, those familiar with the planning system may well take the view that with the exception of Class CA (where the LPA cannot resist the change of use, save by the issuing of an Article 4 Direction), these new rights are the subject of significant statutory controls which will enable LPAs to resist proposed changes of use as effectively as if the application for prior approval were an application for planning permission.

The Proposed Changes of Use

Class CA will permit a change of use of a building and associated land within its curtilage currently used as a shop to use as a "deposit taker". A "deposit taker" means a bank, a building society, a credit union or a friendly society. The LPA must be notified following the change of use and evidence must be provided that the site is being used as a deposit taker. The current law permits a change of use from financial and professional services to shop but not the other way round. This flexibility is to be welcomed.

Class IA will permit a change of use to a dwelling house of a building currently used either as a shop or for financial and professional services or a mixed use combining either of these elements with a residential use. Building operations reasonably necessary for the conversion of a building to a dwelling house will also be permitted. However, the cumulative floor space in the building must not exceed more than 150 square meters of floor space. The term "dwelling house" is extended to include "flat". The ability to change use will not apply to a listed building.

Further conditions apply to Class 1A changes of use. Before beginning the development, the developer must apply to the LPA for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required in respect of transport and highways impacts of the development, contamination risks in relation to the building, flooding risks. Significantly the LPA is asked to determine whether it is undesirable for the building to change to a use for a dwelling house because of the impact on services of the sort provided by the shop or financial services. In addition, the LPA must also take into account whether there is a reasonable prospect of the building being used to provide such services. It must also consider the impact of the change of use where the building is located in a key shopping area, on the sustainability of that shopping area.

The developer must also apply to the LPA, where he or she intends to alter the external appearance of the building for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required in respect of the design or external appearance of the building. The development must be begun within a period of three years of the date on which prior approval is granted or the expiry of 56 days following the date on which the application was received by the authority without the LPA notifying the developer as to whether prior approval for that development is given or refused.

Class MA will permit the change of use of an agricultural building and land within its curtilage to use as a state funded school or registered nursery. The cumulative area of floor space including the land within the building's curtilage must not exceed 500 square meters and the building must have formed part of an established agricultural unit since 20 March 2013. The developer must apply to the LPA for a determination of whether prior approval will be required as to transport and highways impacts of the development, noise impacts, contamination risks, flooding risks as well as the practicality and desirability of the location. Development must be begun within three years of prior approval being granted or the expiry of 56 days following the date on which the application was received by the authority and the LPA fails to notify the developer as to whether prior approval is given or refused.

Class MB will permit the change of use of an agricultural building and associated land to use as a dwelling house. Permission will also include the right to carry out necessary building works for the conversion but the footprint of the building should not be extended. The cumulative floor space of the existing building or buildings must not exceed 450 square metres and the building must have formed part of an established agricultural unit since 20 March 2013. The cumulative number of separate dwelling houses must not exceed three. The rules regarding prior approval together with the impacts to be considered and the time limits for commencement of development are the same as for Class MA. The LPA may require information from the developer in order to determine the application including assessments of impacts or risks, statements setting out how impacts or risks are to be mitigated or details of proposed operational development. The LPA may grant prior approval unconditionally or subject to conditions reasonably related to the subject matter.

Article 6 prevents developers using existing rights to build or extend agricultural buildings within 10 years of having changed the use of an agricultural building under new Class MA or MB.

These changes to the law are contained within the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment and Consequential Provisions) (England) Order 2014. The Order comes into force on 6 April 2014.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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