The Governments Build, Build, Build statement of 30th June 2020 was accompanied by a raft of new ideas and proposals to accelerate the delivery of homes.
New ‘Right to Rise’ powers have already been introduced under Schedule 3, Part 20 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 as amended. Brett Spiller, Director of Chapman Lily Planning commented ‘Right to Rise is welcome, however in practice we have found that many seemingly good opportunities fall foul of the somewhat arbitrary provisions and conditions set out in the Order. It is therefore essential to undertake upfront due diligence’.
The Statement also signalled a revamp of well healed rights following the consolidation of Commercial, Business and Service Uses into Class E of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order.
New provisions allowing for change of use from Class E to C3 residential dwelling houses will take effect from 1st August 2021. It is evident that the Government listened to the consultation responses submitted last year and has imposed far tighter restrictions; in particular proposals will:
– be subject to a size limit of 1,500 sqm of floorspace changing use
– apply to buildings that have been in Commercial, Business and Service uses for two years, including time in former uses now within that class
– apply to buildings that have been vacant for at least three continuous months
– apply in conservation areas, but not in other article 2 (3) land such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Brett Spiller, Director at Chapman Lily Planning noted that ‘a number of our recent approvals for change of use from office to residential apartments would not have met the forthcoming size restriction; so anyone contemplating such a change needs to get their skates on’.
Prior approval will still be required from the Local Planning Authority. This a streamlined application process where the Local Planning Authority can only consider a limited suite of planning issues including transport, contamination, flooding, noise, adequate natural light and minimum unit sizes. However from 1st August considerations will, in certain circumstances, also extend to the impacts upon character, sustainability, compatibility with neighbouring uses and loss of community services.
Brett Spiller, Director at Chapman Lily Planning added ‘new opportunities are bound to arise, albeit whether this will result in more vibrant town centres remains to be seen. What is clear, is that satisfying the provisions and conditions might not be as straight forward or attractive as the headline suggests. Great care is going to be required in navigating the amended Order’.