Raft of Planning Changes Announced

The government has today announced a series of changes to permitted development rights, including new rules allowing the conversion of premises used for storage or distribution to homes without a planning application, in a new General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) laid before Parliament.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles yesterday evening outlined a series of planning measures in a written ministerial statement, including further permitted development changes. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/planning-update-march-2015

The statement outlined a series of changes to permitted development rights, including new rules allowing the conversion of premises used for storage or distribution to homes without a planning application, which are contained a new General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) laid before Parliament yesterday. The changes include;

  • A three-year extension of the date for the expiry of the existing time-limited permitted development right for larger home extensions.
  • Conversion of premises used for storage or distribution centre uses to housing subject to prior approval.

The government had consulted last summer on a new permitted development right allowing “light industrial buildings (B1c) and storage and distribution buildings (B8), which were in that use at the time of the 2014 Budget, to change use to residential”. But the permitted development right in today’s order makes no reference to light industrial buildings.

Other permitted development rights introduced see the following;

  • The conversion of amusement arcades and casinos into homes
  • The provision of “click and collection” facilities within the curtilage of a shop
  • A new permitted development right for the installation of solar PV panels, with a generating capacity of up to 1MW, on the roofs of non-domestic buildings.
  • Change of use of retail premises to restaurants/cafes and assembly and leisure uses without requiring a planning application.

The statement also refers to the following;

Office-to-residential: The statement says that the government will “further consider the case for extending the office to residential reforms, which are helping provided more new homes on brownfield land.

Solar: The written statement sets a high bar for solar farms on farmland.

Vacant Building Credit: The written statement says that guidance will be published today “to assist in the delivery” of the vacant building credit.

A newly consolidated Development Management Procedure Order: A new DMPO comes into force on 15 April, bringing into force new measures including changes to the process of statutory consultation and the introduction of a new “deemed discharge” of conditions.

Zero carbon homes: The statement says that the government has decided that small housing sites of 10 units or fewer will be exempted from the zero carbon homes standard.

Housing standards: The written ministerial statement sets out the government’s new national planning policy on the setting of technical standards for new dwellings.

Starter Homes Policy Change

Changes to planning policy have been announced by DCLG to enable more starter homes for first time buyers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/stepping-onto-the-property-ladder

The policy will entail;

  • the introduction of a new national exception site planning policy to enable starter homes to be built on under-used or unviable commercial or industrial sites not currently identified for housing, on both public and private land
  • these starter homes to be only sold to young first time buyers at a minimum 20% discount below their open market value
  • that local planning authorities should not seek section 106 affordable housing and tariff-style contributions on starter homes
  • they should be exempt from the community infrastructure levy to enable developers to help deliver the discounted sale price

This new national planning policy should be taken into account in plan-making and decision-taking. Revised planning guidance is expected to be published shortly.