CLG has published a consultation document on further reforms (sorry, improvements - and yes, the magic phrases ‘simplifying the planning process’, ‘speeding up the planning system’  and ‘reducing red tape’ do make an appearance) to the planning system.

The consultation is open until 26 September and includes the following proposals, as well as proposals to make neighbourhood planning easier, raise EIA threshholds and increase the number of non-planning consents that can be included in Development Consent Orders for NSIPS:

  • new permitted development rights to change use from light industrial (B1c) and storage/ distribution (B8) to residential (C3), subject to prior approval
  • new permitted rights to change use from launderettes, amusement arcades, casinos and nightclubs (all sui generis) to residential (C3) with limited physical works to  provide for conversion
  • amendments to the current permitted development rights for changes of use from office (B1) to  residential (C3) to extend the time for completion of that change from 30 May 2016 to 30 May 2019
  • amendments to residential extension permitted development rights
  • revision of the use classes order to move most financial and professional services (A2) uses (save for betting shops and pay day loan shops) into the retail (A1) use class and allow changes of use from other A class uses to the wider A1 class, and from A1 and A2 uses plus launderettes, amusement arcades and nightclubs to restaurants and cafes (A3) or assembly and leisure (D2)
  • new permitted developmen rights to allow for commercial filming
  • making permanent the current temporary permitted development rights to extend business premises
  • introduction of a deemed discharge of planning conditions if no notification of a decision is given within a specified period (with exclusions)
  • restrictions on the use of pre-commencement conditions, by requiring written justification for them
  • amendments to the statutory consultee requirements