MHCLG widens scope of permitted development rights

  • 08/12/2020
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MHCLG widens scope of permitted development rights
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) is widening the proposed scope of permitted development rights to include far more commercial buildings.


The changes would bring restaurants, gyms, medical facilities and crèches into the reach of permitted conversions in addition to offices, light industrial and retail units.

The new right is intended to apply to all Class E buildings as classified by MHCLG, regardless of the size of the property in question and would apply in conservation areas.

Exclusions for environmentally protected areas and listed buildings would also continue.

Current permitted development rights already provide for shops, financial and professional services, and offices to change to residential use, and these will continue to apply until 31 July 2021.

MHCLG is proposing to draw these together into a single right that provides for the change of use from any use within the commercial, business and service use class to residential.

All homes built would be required to meet nationally described space standards. This will come into effect from 1 August 2021.


Radical proposals

Nicola Gooch, planning partner at solicitor Irwin Mitchell described the proposals as “radical”.

She said: “Despite the entire justification for it being related to high streets, the rights are not limited to high street properties.

“They will, in fact, apply to every GP surgery, retail park, business park, gym, crèche, nursery or light industrial unit in England that existed and was in use on 1 September 2020.

“There is a nod to preserving high streets in conservation areas, but it does seem to be just that – a nod.”

Permitted development rights provide a national grant of permission for specific types of development set out in legislation.

The rights aim to provide more planning certainty, while allowing for local consideration of key planning matters through the prior approval process.

They have been increasingly used to support the delivery of new homes: in the five years to March 2020, permitted development rights for the change of use provided 72,687 new homes.

The technical consultation, which is open to everyone, will close on 28 January 2021.


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