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Legal Updates

Improved Permitted Development Rights for Non-Domestic Development

12 April 2010 #Setting up in the UK

An amendment to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order, applicable to England only, has come into force on 6 April.  It largely follows the proposals set out in the DCLG`s consultation document issued in July 2009.  The 1995 Order grants planning permission for various classes of development described in one of the schedules to the Order, with the schedule divided into a number of separate Parts, each dealing with a particular category of development.  Consequently where the terms of any class of permitted development are satisfied, there is no need for a planning application to be submitted and determined by the local planning authority.  Over the years there have been a number of Amendment Orders amending or adding to the Parts (or categories) in this schedule.

This new Order introduces two new categories of permitted development, namely certain classes of developments under the headings Office Buildings and, secondly, Shops or Catering, Financial or Professional Services Establishments, whilst also enlarging the permitted development rights for two existing categories, Industrial and Warehouse Development, and Schools, Colleges, Universities and Hospitals.

Formerly, for Industrial and Warehouse development, the extension or alteration of existing buildings was permitted, but the amended Order also permits additional buildings to be erected within the curtilage, although on a much smaller scale than is authorised for extensions and alterations.  Conversely the Schools, Colleges, Universities and Hospitals category formerly authorised new buildings on an existing site but the Order now permits extensions and alterations too.

The amended Order re-defines industrial buildings to include use for research and development of products and processes.

The two entirely new categories permit only alterations or extensions (and not new buildings); and although one of the category headings refers to Catering, there is no permitted development right to extend or alter these Use Class A3, A4 or A5 premises - they are included in this category to give permitted development rights for the provision or replacement of hard surfaces, a right that is given to each of these four categories of development.

In every case, these permitted development rights for additional buildings, alterations and extensions are subject to a number of restrictions and conditions. These impose limits on the scale and height of the new development and restrictions on the proximity to the boundary of the site curtilage.  Permitted development is not applicable within the curtilage of a listed building.

The detail of the conditions and limitations is very complicated and the parameters of what is permitted vary to a greater of lesser extent as between the different categories of development.  It is important that advice is obtained on the precise extent and terms of these permitted development rights by reference to the particular circumstances of the property, before making any firm proposals or any commitment towards undertaking development in reliance on permitted development rights.

The scale of the development newly authorised by the Amendment Order is relatively small. For new Industrial and Warehouse buildings and for new or altered or extended School, College, University and Hospital buildings the additional gross floor space must not exceed 100 square metres.  For the alteration or extension of Offices or Shops etc, the figure is 50 square metres.  However, except in the case of Industrial and Warehouse development, there is an additional restriction whereby the new gross floor space of the altered or extended Offices or Shops etc is not to exceed that of the original building by more than 25% in the case of Schools, Colleges, Universities and Hospitals the 25% increase is a cumulative calculation by reference to the original buildings on the site.  This may not be helpful or particularly valuable for large establishments but there may be circumstances where it is useful to have this opportunity to enlarge facilities without undergoing the planning application process.  For smaller businesses in the retail sector the new permitted development rights could be very beneficial.

It should be remembered that local planning authorities have the power to make what is called an Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights for all or any of the development described in any of the classes in the schedule to the Order, in respect of any area specified in the Direction, or for any particular development specified in the Direction.  The new Amendment Order changes the procedure for making these Directions and it is no longer necessary for The Secretary of State to confirm the Direction.  The Direction must be publicised, to give an opportunity for representations which must be taken into account before the local planning authority brings the Direction into force.  The publicity arrangements require service of notice of the Direction on the owner and occupier of every part of the land within the area or site to which the Direction relates, unless this is impracticable because of difficulty in identifying or locating those persons or because of the number of owners or occupiers within the area.

The Order also permits other forms of development applicable to these categories, including hard surfacing and trolley stalls within the curtilage of shops.

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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