The Government has introduced changes to the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO), effective from 25 May 2019. The changes are intended to make it easier to convert certain properties to provide more homes and offices, but some changes have not been introduced and the question remains, is this enough?
The changes were made following a public consultation in October 2018 and were confirmed in the Government’s Spring Statement. However some key changes, including the proposed permitted development (PD) right allowing upward extensions to create new housing, have not been introduced at this stage.
PD rights and changes to use classes have increasingly been used by the Government as planning tools to encourage and allow greater adaptation and diversification of our high streets. This latest set of PD changes introduces the following key amendments:
- The temporary provision in Part 1 Class A, allowing larger residential extensions, is made permanent, having been due to expire on 31 May 2019
- A new Part 3 Class JA allows shops, financial and professional services, hot food takeaways, betting shops, pay day loan shops and laundrettes to change to office use, up to 500sq m. This is subject to prior approval, which will assess transport and highways impacts, noise impacts from commercial and retail premises, and the impact on the sustainability of the existing shopping area
- Part 3, Class M will now allow hot food takeaways to change to residential use, up to 150sq m, subject to prior approval application
- Part 4, Class D is amended to allow temporary changes of use between various high street uses, offices and leisure facilities for a three year period (increased from two years) and is widened to include changes of use to certain community uses
However, the changes do not include the proposed PD right that would allow upward extension to create new housing. Nevertheless, despite the fact that this was the subject of significant objection during the consultation period, not least due to concerns relating to design impacts, the Government has indicated that it still intends to implement this at a future, unspecified date.
The proposed PD right allowing the demolition and redevelopment of existing commercial properties to provide new homes has also not been included at this stage, albeit the Government has indicated that this remains under consideration.
Evidently, the Government is striving to deliver on the promises it has made to use the planning system to reshape and revitalise our high streets and town centres, create prosperous communities and encourage new housing in underused properties. So far, certain PD rights introduced pursuant to these aims have been taken up with vigour by the development industry. For example, since 2015, some 42,000 new homes have been created using the office to residential PD right. The further changes to the PD rights outlined above can therefore be generally welcomed as a means of providing greater flexibility within the planning system.
The delay in the implementation of the wider ranging PD rights relating to upward extensions and commercial redevelopment schemes is not unexpected, in the context of the weight of objections associated with these matters during the consultation period. These represent complex issues, with impacts on neighbouring amenity, and in particular daylight & sunlight and legal rights to light being significant considerations in the potential application of such rights, should they come into force in the future.
As ever with permitted development rights, the devil is in the detail and it is therefore advisable to ensure that full due diligence is undertaken prior to commencing any works that may be considered to benefit from PD rights. Rapleys Town Planning and Neighbourly Matters specialists are well placed to advise on such matters. Please get in touch for further information.