"Just call me Brand" - new planning minister Brandon Lewis goes for the informal approach
“Just call me Brand” – new planning minister Brandon Lewis goes for the informal approach

England: Here we go again, another consultation on changes to the planning system from the Department for Communities and Local Government. This time the Government are seeking views on a whole range of proposed measures but probably most relevant to our clients will be further possible changes to permitted development rights.

The consultation formally sets out the Government’s intention to further move towards a three tier planning system – namely 1) proposals which require full planning permission, 2) proposals which are permitted development but require a prior approval process to look at certain issues and 3) permitted development which can go ahead without any additional approval.

The permitted development proposals are numerous but those probably of most interest are:

  • To make permanent the temporary (until May 2016) permitted development right for larger single storey rear extensions to dwellings;
  • To extend the temporary (again until May 2016) permitted development right for office to residential conversions until May 2019 (and remove the present area exemptions);
  • To allow the change of use of buildings from light industrial (Use Class B1(c)) and storage and distribution (Use Class B8) to residential;
  • To allow the change of use from selected sui generis uses (namely launderettes, amusement arcades/centres, casinos and nightclubs) to residential;
  • To allow the change of use of any study shoe box to residential;
  • A range of proposals to try to improve the flexibility of the use of high street premises including altering the A1 and A2 Use Classes so that “respectable” A2 uses (retail banks, building societies, estate agents, accountants) are incorporated in A1 leaving the “toxic” class A2 with betting shops, pay day loan shops and solicitors (joking again).

There are various other proposals in the consultation but I’m afraid its all too much excitement and I need a lie down.

But seriously DCLG will you stop consulting on this rubbish and hurry up and tell us whether you will introduce the nationwide 10-unit threshold on affordable housing!

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