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Planning changes
28 May 2024

As the planning system is ever changing, we thought you should be aware of the following changes:

Extension to the Agricultural Permitted Development Rights (GPDO Classes Q, R & Part 6 Classes A & B)

From 21st May 2024 there will be significant extensions to the Permitted Development Rights available on agricultural holdings.

Class Q – conversion from agricultural to residential use

The key changes are as follows:

  • Buildings which remain part of an agricultural unit will no longer need to have been used for solely agricultural purposes in order to qualify.
  • There will no longer be a defined floor space limit but a single floor space limit of 150 sq m per dwelling.
  • The cumulative floor space which can be developed increases to 1,000 sq m.
  • The number of separate dwellings which can be converted increases to 10.
  • It will be possible to include a 4 metre single-storey rear extension to the barn or agricultural building on any hard surface which was present on or before 24th July 2023.
  • Buildings must have a suitable access from the public highway to be developed.

Class R – change of use from agricultural to commercial use

The key changes are as follows:

  • Change of use will include a wider range of commercial uses.
  • The cumulative floor space which can be developed increases to 1,000 sq m.

Part 6 Class A – new agricultural buildings on holdings of more than 5 hectares or more

The key changes are as follows:

  • The ground area which can be developed increases from 1,000 sq m to 1,500 sq m except for buildings for accommodating livestock which remain at 1,000 sq m.
  • Prohibition of development on scheduled monuments.

Part 6 Class B – it will be possible to extend existing agricultural buildings by 25% instead of 20% and the limit and the total size will increase to 1,250 square metres.

Change of use of commercial properties to residential (Class MA)

From 5th March 2024, the following two changes were made to Class MA of the General (Permitted Development) Order (GPDO):

  • There is no longer a requirement for the building changing use to be vacant for a period of three months before submitting an application for Prior Approval to the Council.
  • The upper limit of 1,500 sq m floor area was removed.

Period for taking enforcement action

From 25th April 2024, all applications for certificates of lawfulness relating to alleged breaches of planning control now need to be supported with evidence spanning 10 years to be exempt from enforcement action. This means that the four-year period applicable to residential developments and other works ceased to apply from 25th April 2024.

Biodiversity Net Gain

In England, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) became mandatory from 2nd April 2024 for new non-major applications following the lapse of the temporary exemption for small developments. All developments, except those listed as exempted, are now to provide evidence to demonstrate they can achieve a 10% BNG measured against the pre-development biodiversity value of the on-site habitat. Applicants need to check if the development proposal is exempted before submitting an application and consider BNG at the design stage.

Consultation on an accelerated planning system

On 6th March 2024, the Government published a consultation document entitled “An accelerated planning system: consultation”.

The consultation document seeks views about the following matters:

1. Introduction of a new Accelerated Planning Service for major commercial applications to enable decisions to be made within 10 weeks and the fee refunded if this is not met.

2. Cease the use of extension of time for householder applications and only allowing one extension of time for other developments.

3. Expand the current simplified written representations appeals process for householder and minor commercial appeals to more appeals.

4. Introduce a new route, Section 73B that was legislated under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023, to provide a new process for amending the description of development once permission has been granted. The consultation states that “Practically, this would mean a developer would be able to make an application for development which can be a variation of both the descriptor and conditions of an existing planning permission, providing the development was not substantially different from the existing development”.

The consultation ended on 1st May 2024.

Planning Inspectorate appeals

From 1st April 2024, the Planning Inspectorate stopped accepting interested party comments by email. All comments from interested parties on planning and enforcement appeals are only accepted if submitted through the Appeals Casework Portal (ACP).

For more information or to find out how our planning and design team can help you, please contact Abel.

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