Planning Changes

 

The Government has made a number of changes to the PDR regime and the Business and Planning Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 22nd July 2020.

Extension of time limits

The Business and Planning Act 2020 temporarily modifies the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to enable certain planning permissions and listed building consents in England which have lapsed or are due to lapse during 2020 to be extended.

This is in recognition of the effect coronavirus has had on the planning system and the construction sector and in particular the delays it has caused to the commencement of new development. This extension will allow the commencement of the planning permissions and listed building consents without the need for a new application.

Under section 93A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, unimplemented planning permissions with time limits for implementation which were due to lapse between 19 August 2020 (when the provisions came into force) and 31 December 2020 are extended to 1 May 2021. This happens automatically, with no requirement to obtain Additional Environmental Approval.

In this guidance, a ‘time limit for implementation’ refers to a condition which has the effect that development pursuant to a planning permission, or works pursuant to a listed building consent, must be begun not later than a certain date. In most cases, a condition (or deemed condition) imposing a time limit for implementation is attached to a planning permission by or under section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; and to a listed building consent by or under section 18 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

In addition, unimplemented planning permissions with time limits for implementation which passed between 23 March 2020 and 19 August 2020 are also restored and the time limit extended to 1 May 2021, subject to Additional Environmental Approval being granted. Further details of the Additional Environmental Approval process are set out below.

Outline planning permissions may have lapsed or be at risk of lapsing for two reasons: (a) development has not commenced; or (b) applications for reserved matters approval have not been submitted for determination by the local planning authority within the period specified by a condition imposed on an outline planning permission by or under section 92(2)(a) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Time limits for implementation relating to outline planning permissions are subject to extension in the same way as other planning permissions:

  • time limits for implementation passed between 19 August 2020 and 31 December 2020 are automatically extended to 1 May 2021
  • time limits for implementation passed between 23 March 2020 and 19 August 2020 are extended to 1 May 2021 if Additional Environmental Approval is granted in respect of the relevant planning permission

In addition, any deadline for the submission of applications for the approval of reserved matters under an outline planning permission which would otherwise expire between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 is extended to 1 May 2021.

Find out more at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/extension-of-certain-planning-permissions-draft-guidance/extension-of-certain-planning-permissions-draft-guidance

Applications to amend construction working hours

Section 74B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provides a temporary, fast track deemed consent route for developers to apply to local planning authorities to vary existing conditions, or the details submitted under a condition, that limit construction site working hours. Local authorities have 14 calendar days to consider such applications.

If an application is approved, this will temporarily amend planning restrictions on construction working hours until 1 April 2021, unless either another earlier date has been requested by the applicant or is decided upon by the local planning authority, with the agreement of the applicant. Where the planning authority is considering a different end date to that in the application, it is recommended that the developer and planning authority respond promptly to one another to reach an agreement prior to the 14 day determination deadline.

If the local planning authority does not determine the application within 14 days (excluding public holidays), the revised working hours are deemed to have been consented to and construction can take place in accordance with these new hours.  Find out more at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/construction-working-hours-draft-guidance?pk_campaign=newsletter_3724

Extension To Permitted Development Rights (PDR)

The Government has made a number of changes to the permitted development rights regime allowing upward extension for an additional two storeys of residential use and the demolition and replacement of redundant buildings with residential development.

Upward Extension Of Existing Buildings

The new rights, coming into force on 31st August 2020, will allow upward extension by two storeys on residential, commercial and mixed-use buildings built between 1st July 1948 and 5th March 2018. There are restrictions on the maximum height of buildings extended in this way with minimum floor to ceiling heights for the extension.

Demolition Of Redundant Buildings And Replacement With Residential Units

Alongside the new PDR for upward extension, the government is giving developers the right to demolish vacant buildings and replace them with “well-designed” new residential units from the  31 August 2020. 

The PDR will apply to "vacant and redundant free-standing buildings" that are classed as offices, premises for research and development or light industrial processes, and "purpose-built residential blocks". Buildings must have been "entirely vacant for at least six months prior to the date of the application for prior approval", and built before 1 January 1990.

In addition, the new building cannot be larger than the footprint of the existing building and cannot exceed a maximum footprint of 1,000 square metres.

However, the new building can be up to seven metres higher to accommodate up to two additional residential storeys, within a final overall maximum height of 18m.