Planning permission is only needed if the work being carried out meets the statutory definition of ‘development’ which is set out in section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
- building operations (eg structural alterations, construction, rebuilding, most demolition);
- material changes of use of land and buildings;
- engineering operations (eg groundworks);
- mining operations;
- other operations normally undertaken by a person carrying on a business as a builder.
- subdivision of a building (including any part it) used as a dwellinghouse for use as 2 or more separate dwelling houses.
Development does not in all instances however require a planning application to be made for permission to carry out the development. In some cases development will be permitted under national permitted development rights. To receive a formal confirmation of this, an application for a certificate of lawful development can be submitted to a local planning authority.
Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.
The government have published its response to the consultation over proposals for expanding and in some cases relaxing rules on permitted development rights with the aim of supporting the regeneration of the high street and encouraging the introduction of new business and property development.*
Notable changes include:
- New rights for the change of use to offices: A new permitted development right permits a change of use of up to 500m2 floor space to offices (B1 (a)) from uses within the following use classes: retail (A1), financial and professional services (A2) and hot food takeaways (A5); and betting offices, pay day loan shops and launderettes. This applies to buildings that were in such uses on 29 October 2018 or, if not in use on that date, in such uses when last in use. It does not apply where the existing use resulted from certain permitted development rights.
Despite the expansion of rights, the rights are subject to the prior approval by the local authority in respect of any matters that may affect:
transport and highways impacts;
impacts of noise from commercial and retail premises on the intended occupiers; and
the impact of the change on the adequate provision of services or the sustainability of key shopping areas.
- Amended rights for the change of use to residential: It was possible to introduce a residential property (for example living quarters above a shop) within classes A1 or A2 bookkeepers. This right is now extended to properties within class A5 (takeaways).
- Rights for Temporary use of land and buildings
There are rights for a temporary change of use for up to two years within classes A1, A2, A3 (restaurants and cafes), A5, B1 (business), D2 (assembly and leisure), betting office or pay day loan shops to uses falling within classes A1, A2, A3 and B1 for two years.
This right for temporary use has now been extended to include for up to three years uses falling within classes D1(a) medical or health services; D1(d) art galleries; D1(e) museums; D1(f) library and reading rooms; D1(g) public halls and exhibition halls.
- Existing permitted development rights: Other established permitted development rights of relevance include the right to change from offices to dwellings.
These changes are viewed as providing extra flexibility to business owners and encouraging development of the high street. You should always seek professional advice if considering a change of use or development of property.
Source: * Changes to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 came into effect on 25 May 2019.
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