Joanna Averley, England’s Chief Planner, has written to local authority (LA) planners confirming that new permitted development rights (PDR)– heavily criticised by built environment bodies – take from 1 August and, to protect heritage assets, planning application will be required for removing unlisted statues etc., with exceptions that include listing etc., cemeteries, consecrated land, certain curtilages, and the grounds of museums etc.
image: Open Government Licence v3.0
… right to enable the change of use from the new Class E to residential use to help support housing…
… regulations also amend permitted development rights to allow for larger extensions…
Joanna Averley writes:
… In this newsletter we outline some of the policy responses to these changes and how we support the opening up of the economy and our social lives. The planning system has a job to do to reflect on and address these changes, which is why we continue to underline the importance of local planning authorities progressing their local plans….
Supporting Housing Delivery and Public Service Infrastructure
In 2020, we reformed the Use Classes Order to make it easier for high street premises to change use without the need for a planning application. In particular we created a new Class E ‘commercial, business and service’ use which means that a wider range of commercial, retail and leisure uses commonly found in town centres can adapt to changing circumstances and respond to the needs of their local communities.
To further the Government’s objective to support and diversify town centres, we laid regulations on 31 March 2021 to create a new permitted development right to enable the change of use from the new Class E to residential use to help support housing delivery and enable more homes to be created in town centres.
The right will have effect from 1 August 2021. It is subject to a size limit of 1,500 sqm of floorspace changing use and applies to buildings that have been in a Class E use for two years, including time in former uses now within that class. To protect viable businesses the right only applies to buildings that have been continuously vacant for at least three months. And to protect local amenity the right is subject to prior approval by the local planning authority on a range of planning matters.
Where there are existing Article 4 directions in respect of office to residential rights, these will continue to apply until 31 July 2022. You may be aware that Government consulted on a new policy for Article 4s in the recent consultation to changes to the NPPF. We are now considering responses to the consultation and will be issuing a response as soon as possible. This will set out any changes to Article 4 policy.
To help deliver improvements to public service infrastructure the 31 March regulations also amend permitted development rights to allow for larger extensions to schools, colleges, universities, hospitals and, for the first time, prisons.
In addition, we have made further changes to align the permitted development rights for ports and airports to help deliver Freeports.
Finally, to protect heritage assets, the regulations ensure that a planning application will always be required for the removal of unlisted statues, memorials and monuments which have been in place for 10 years on the proposed demolition date subject to certain exceptions. Those exceptions are statues which are listed buildings or scheduled monuments, within cemeteries, on consecrated land, within the curtilage of places of worship or dwelling houses or in the grounds of museums and art galleries. Changes to the notification requirements will ensure that the Secretary of State is aware of applications and has the opportunity to call them in, if appropriate. This reform will be accompanied by changes to The Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2009 and the Arrangements For Handling Heritage Applications – Notification To Historic England And National Amenity Societies And The Secretary Of State (England) Direction 2015.
The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England)(Amendment) Order 2021 and the associated Explanatory Memorandum is available HERE