Government tidies up PD and Changes of Use anomalies - Just in Time!
As you will all be aware, the Government has been toying with new permitted development rights for some time, primarily to make planning more flexible and economically more responsive. This resulted in a number of transitionary measures being introduced, particularly allowing certain changes of use without the need for a full planning application. However, most of the transitional provisions expire at the end of July.
The Government has therefore had to introduce further amendments to the GPDO (General Permitted Development Order) to bring it into line to the latest version of the UCO (Use Classes Order). The amendment Order will come into force on 1 August 2021.
The main changes include:
Now allowing a permitted change of use from a casino, betting office, pay day loan shop or hot food takeaway to a use falling within Class E (the new general commercial use). This change does not require a Prior Notification and is only subject to the condition that the developer must notify the council in writing of the date on which the use of the building will change.
Permission is now allowed for a change of use from a public house, wine bar or drinking establishment to the same use but with expanded food provision, and the converse change of use is also allowed.
Permission is allowed for a change of use from either a Class E general commercial use, a betting office or pay day loan shop or a mixed use to a maximum of two flats. However, such proposals must also seek prior approval from the council relating to contamination and flooding risks, and noise impact. Importantly, the flats must have adequate natural light and proper arrangements for the storage and management of domestic waste.
Changes of use of general industrial buildings (Class B2) to warehousing (Class B8) are now subject to a 500 sq m floorspace limit.
With one exception, the issue of retail impact has now been removed from permitted changes, such as from commercial premises to a dwelling. This proviso now only applies to the impact on the adequate provision of services of the sort that may be provided by a launderette (but only where there is a reasonable prospect of the building being used to provide such services).
Permitted changes from commercial uses to dwellings now introduce a requirement for a fire risk assessment to be taken into account in some circumstances, and the council (in consultation with the Health and Safety Executive) must approve the fire safety impacts on the intended occupants of the building. These changes also require approval of highways impacts of the development, to ensure safe site access. The proposed conversions are now also restricted to buildings of less than 1,500sqm, thereby preventing the prior approval of large office buildings.
The re-drafted legislation now permits development consisting of a change of use of an agricultural building to a flexible use falling within one or other of Classes B8 (warehousing), C1 (hotels) or E (general commercial use).
For full details of the legislation can be found at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/814/contents/made