Consultation on changes to permitted development rights to allow additional flexibilities
On 24 July 2023 the government published a consultation on proposed changes to extend permitted development rights granted under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (“the Order”). The consultation will close on 25 September 2023.
The government proposes supporting housing delivery and is seeking views on amending existing permitted development rights to allow for the change of use of certain buildings to residential. The intention is that these further rights would provide further flexibility and support for the creation of more homes. This would be achieved by extending the permitted development right under Class MA of Part 3 of the Order that allows for the change of use of buildings from commercial, business and service use to residential. This permitted development right was introduced in August 2021 and presently allows for up to 1,500 square metres of use to change to residential but the consultation asks for views on extending this cap to 3,000 square metres or removing fully the limit on the amount of floor space that can change use. In addition, the consultation also proposes the introduction of a new permitted development right to allow the change of use of hotels, boarding houses or guest houses to residential dwellinghouses.
The abovementioned changes would enhance the ability of landowners and developers to change uses of buildings to residential without the expense and delay often involved in obtaining planning permission. The government has also particularly emphasised the contribution that such national permitted development rights have to housing delivery.
The following changes are also proposed to miscellaneous permitted development rights:
- An expansion of the permitted development right under Class A of Part 7 of the Order to allow the maximum floorspace limit for the extension or alteration of a commercial, business and service establishment to be increased from either 50% or 100 square metres of floorspace (whichever is the lesser) to 100% or 200 square metres of floorspace (whichever is the lesser).
- An amendment to the permitted development right under Class H of Part 7 of the Order for the erection, extension or alteration of a new industrial building (Use Class B2) or warehouse (Use Class B8) in a non-protected area from a maximum floorspace of 200 square metres to 400 square metres.
- An adjustment to the permitted development right under Class B of Part 4 of the Order right for the temporary use of land for a market from 14 days in a calendar year to 28 days in a calendar year (in line with other uses permitted under this right).
- An amendment to the permitted development right under Class M of Part 7 of the Order for the erection, extension or alteration of prisons to also encompass open prisons. The right could be used to erect prefabricated units to provide additional prison accommodation and supporting facilities subject to restrictions on height and size.
More broadly, the government state in the consultation that permitted development rights provide flexibilities and planning freedoms to different users including businesses, local authorities and local communities. The consultation proposes the expansion of permitted development rights across a range of areas, but the conditions previously limiting development have been weakened. This may benefit landowners and developers by averting the need for planning applications, but could lead to amenity impacts for local communities in respect of permitted development that is subject to reduced planning controls.