Further Planning Changes Proposed
By Chris Sinton
On 31st July the Government divulged further proposed changes to the planning system in a comprehensive technical consultation on wide ranging topics including extended Permitted Development rights, improving the use of planning conditions and amending Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening thresholds. The Government is seeking views on the following matters:
- Making it even easier for residents and business to come together to produce a neighbourhood plan, drawing on the experience gained from over 900 neighbourhood areas which have already been designated by local authorities
- Expanding permitted development rights, further reducing red tape, supporting housing and growth; these proposals will help ensure the planning system is proportionate and full planning permission is only required where this is genuinely justified
- Improving the use of planning conditions and enable development to start more quickly on site after planning permission is granted
- Improving engagement with statutory consultees so they are consulted in a proportionate way on those developments where their input is most valuable
- Removing unnecessary bureaucracy and reduce the cost and time taken to get planning permission, by raising the EIA thresholds for industrial estate and urban development projects located outside of sensitive areas from 0.5 ha to 5 ha. This is expected to reduce the number of urban development projects being screened from 1,600 to 300 per year.
Expanding the number of non-planning consents which can be included within a development consent order
Key proposed changes in more detail
Amended Permitted Development Rights
The recently issued consultation document seeks to introduce an amended permitted development right for change of use from office B1(a) to residential (C3) from May 2016, replacing the current regime which is due to end on 30 May 2016. The key amendments proposed include:
- Removal of all 33 exemption areas within 17 local planning authorities, including Manchester City Centre;
- Amended prior approval process to consider the potential impact of the proposed development on not only highways and transport, flooding, contamination but the “significant loss of the most strategically important office accommodation” as well.
- Extension of the time for completion for developments with prior approval from 30 May 2016 to 30 May 2019;
The prior approval will remain tightly drawn however the Government are welcoming suggestions about the specific wording.
Further proposals to increase housing supply which are being consulted upon include the conversion of light industrial B1 (c), warehousing (B8) and some sui generis (namely laundrettes, amusement arcades, casinos and nightclubs) uses to residential C3.
The consultation runs until 26 September 2014, click to view the full technical consultation report.