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The Spring Statement – What does it mean for planning?
29 April 2019

The recent Spring Statement confirmed that the Government would be introducing a package of new reforms to allow greater changes of use between premises. In a subsequent written ministerial statement, Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, James Brokenshire, confirmed the following:

  • In response to the Oliver Letwin Review, the Government will publish additional guidance on housing diversification to help large sites build more quickly.
  • The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will publish an Accelerated Planning Green Paper later this year to set out how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements can accelerate the end-to-end planning process. This Paper will also draw on the Rosewell Review, which made recommendations to reduce the time taken to conclude planning appeal inquiries, whilst maintaining the quality of decisions.
  • James Brokenshire will be considering the case for further reforms to the compulsory purchase regime.
  • Publication later this year of “Better Planning for High Streets” which will set out tools to support local planning authorities in reshaping their high streets.

In October 2018 the Government proposed the introduction of new permitted development rights and consulted on the proposed changes until January 2019 entitled “Planning reform: supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes”. The plans propose to allow greater change of use to support high streets, support extending existing buildings upwards to create additional homes and to speed up the delivery of new homes. These changes include:

  • Clarification on the ability of (A) use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area.
  • Introduce a new permitted development right to allow shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, pay day loan shops and laundrettes to change use to an office (B1).
  • Hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3).
  • Extend the existing right that allows the temporary change of use of buildings from 2 to 3 years to give businesses sufficient time to test the market with innovative business ideas.
  • Take forward a permitted development right to extend upwards certain existing buildings in commercial and residential use to deliver additional homes.
  • Make permanent the time-limited right to build larger, single storey rear extensions to dwelling houses while introducing a proportionate fee.
  • Confirmation that there is no intention to extend the time-limited right for change of use from storage to residential – this right will lapse on 10th June 2019.
  • Intention to review the permitted development rights for conversion of buildings to residential use in respect of the quality standard of homes delivered.
  • The Government is continuing to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes.

These new permitted development rights are expected to be confirmed in spring, with the more complex matters including upward extensions to be confirmed in autumn.

How can Robinson & Hall help?

With these permitted development changes comes greater opportunity and Robinson & Hall is ideally placed to provide advice on how you might be able to benefit. Should you have any queries on the above or wish to discuss opportunities that may arise from these changes, please do not hesitate in contacting any member of the planning team.

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