New Permitted Development Rights - Developers

The government has confirmed that Permitted development (PD) rights allowing the conversion of shops and other high street uses to offices and hot food takeaways to homes will come into effect on 25 May,

The regulations, laid before parliament last week, follow an announcement made by the Housing Secretary James Brokenshire as part of this year's spring statement that the rights would be introduced. The statutory instruments have not included the anticipated proposed PD right allowing upward extensions to create new housing, though the government said it still intended to proceed with this.

On 3 May, the government published its response to the October consultation ‘Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes’. Amongst the changes, the government confirmed they are introducing new PDRs which will allow A1/A2/A5 uses to change to office B1, and A5 uses to change to dwellinghouse C3 (subject to conditions and limitations, including floor space limitations). These amendments are being brought forward through under The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development Advertisement and Compensation Amendments) (England) Regulations 2019, which came into force today.

The Government has not combined the A1-A3 use classes and has not yet amended the A1 use class, but has stressed that…

"We intend to amend the shops use class to ensure it captures current and future retail models, which will include clarification on the ability of the A use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area".

Councils will be able to assess whether there is adequate provision of the existing use and the impact on the sustainability of shopping areas when deciding if conversions should be allowed.

Under the changes, a new class JA of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) is created. This allows local authorities to consider proposals for the conversion of shops and other high street uses, including takeaways, betting offices, payday loan shops, and launderettes, to offices under a prior approval process.

The changes allow takeaways to Change of Use to housing under class M of the General Permitted Development Order, which already allows retail and sui generis uses to convert to residential without the need for planning permission. 

Following much controversy and backlash from particular Prior Notification projects, more than half of respondents within the Ministry said they opposed plans to allow the conversion of hot food takeaways to housing. Concerns included the potential to "undermine the vitality" of areas "planned for entertainment and the night-time economy".

Further to this, more than half of respondents also opposed rights for upward residential extensions, raising concerns about the quality of homes to be delivered, access and safety, and the impact on the existing occupiers and neighbours of the premises being extended.

"We recognise the complexity of designing a permitted development right to build upwards and will continue to engage with interested parties on the technical details,".

The regulations will also allow the temporary conversion of shops and other high street premises to a wider range of community uses, increase the permitted height of electric vehicle charging points, and remove PD rights for public call boxes.

In final summary to the statements that had been made by the Ministry, they stated;

"We intend to continue to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes, in the light of the views received to the consultation,"

New Permitted Development Rights Larger Extensions - Home Owners

There has been tremendous publicity regarding Permitted Development Rights; how the changes over the last 10 years and the Housing Secretary James Brokenshire’s statement made earlier this year.

If you’re planning on building a single storey rear extension under your permitted development rights, you can now take advantage of a doubled size allowance under the Larger Home Extension Scheme (subject to very particular criteria). This includes extensions up to 8 metres (from 4 metres) for a detached house, and 6 metres (from 3 metres) for all other houses.   

Previously, this scheme only applied to projects completed before the end of May 2019. This scheme has now been made permanent. 

What is permitted development? 

Permitted development is a type of pre-approved permission to set criteria to build as your ‘Right’, which allows you to bypass most of the main planning process, by means of a tick box process providing your proposed design falls within the legislation criteria. 

You certainly should apply to your council for a lawful development certificate to prove your development is within the conditions provided, and if your plans fall within the scheme, it can save time and potential complications over putting in a full planning application. However there are risks of particular ‘grey areas’ of which should be very clear but can slip into debate; a slimmed-down version of the planning process, managed by set departments within the planning team to cover this part of the process, becomes the limitation.

To take advantage of this extra allowance under permitted development, you’ll need to ensure your plans extend no more than 8 metres (for a detached property) or 6 metres (for all other properties) from the rear elevation of the original house, as it stood on 1 July 1948. Subject to Planning Team review and the Neighbour Consultation Scheme.

You must check that you do not fall into an area where your PD rights have been removed, or the already used within a previous extension, underlying covenants etc

The development must also comply with other conditions that apply to all rear extensions allowed under permitted development: these are listed in great length on the national planning website and within local planning websites (along with the particular local requirements which must be checked).

What is the Neighbour Consultation Scheme? 

The Neighbour Consultation Scheme is the approval process for extensions built under the Larger Home Extension Scheme. Once you provide the detailed plans for your project to the council they will notify any adjoining owners or occupiers to your development (i.e. your neighbours), and invite them to raise any objections within a 21 day period. 

If no objections are received, and the development complies with all of the relevant criteria under permitted development rights and the Larger Home Extension Scheme, you’ll be notified by the council within a 42 day period and may start building, potentially under certain additional conditions. 

You will need Building Regulation Approval for the extension and you will need to submit detailed plans to get this approval.   

Self-Build Projects - New steps for Warwick District - Building your own home!

As Self-build projects are being taken up more on each year, the opportunities for site finding do seem to be challenging for those families who are ‘outside’ the property and development sector.

Interestingly Warwick District Council team have been shaping this new Draft Supplementary Planning Document, which goes into some detail regarding housebuilders and freeing up viable plots. Providing serviced plots in clusters for buyers looking to design and build their own home.

Together with two other Darft SPDs the Self-build document is live for consultation, ending 11th March 2019.

There are of course fantastic tax benefits to sustainable approach to self-build properties and opportunities providing self-build annexes to existing plots in the changing way families are investing in their homes with their wider families.

An architect has two valuable functions in a self-build project. We work to shape the home and aspirations of the self-builder and create an innovative design that exceeds expectations. The one thing that should never be compromised is design, your project will stand for generations to come and so should your vision.

Secondly, an architect should facilitate the decision making process. We give you the time and space you need to make the right call.

We believe that no professional puts the choice in your hands as completely as a qualified Architect. We take the time to understand you and the reason why you are self-building. That’s why we are passionate about helping self-builders realise their dream within the real-life constraints of budgets, time scales and planning/technical processes. 

A good place to start if you are embarking on a self-build journey is to meet with a fully qualified Architect face-to-face. We offer a free design consultation to gain an understanding of what you wish to achieve with your project, discuss your design options with you and explain the relevant planning and building regulations.

To book your free initial consultation call  Jonathan on 07966 732 608 or the office on 01789 601 555.

Damp Issues in Heritage & Period Properties

We undertook a full consultation on a fantastic period property in the centre of Leamington Spa (Conservation Area).
Years before purchase, the property had been renovated and in these areas damp issues have come to light through the use of modern construction materials. It is a situation I see all too often! Where these impervious materials are used on older buildings; particularly gypsum plaster, cement render and modern paint a number of problems can arise. 
These issues can be made even worse by ‘injection damp proofing’ which has been recommended across the country causing £millions of damage.

It takes me back to lectures in Bath by Architect and mentor Bill Holmes some decades ago now! I include a very succinct article which highlights these issues and further explains principles of conservation renovation. If you are considering works to your older property to please read this article by Heritage House....