This part of the consultation seeks views on a collection of proposals to amend  permitted development rights.  The changes  are intended to boost housing supply, revitalise the high street and make the best use of existing buildings. 

The consultation confirms that the proposed changes, subject to the outcome of the consultation, will be introduced at the earliest opportunity and subject to Parliamentary process through a new consolidated General Permitted Development Order to replace the current (often amended) 1995 Order.

The changes are stated to apply to England only.  The consultation closes on 26 September 2014. 

Housing Supply  

A number of changes are proposed to boost housing supply:

  • Creating new homes from light industrial  or warehouse buildings

Proposed permitted development rights for light industrial (ClassB1(c)) buildings; and storage and distribution (Class B8) buildings to change to residential (Class C3) use.

Limited external modifications sufficient to allow for the conversion to residential use would be included in the new right. It would not however, apply to listed or protected buildings, SSSIs, in safety hazard areas or in military areas.

Views are sought on whether the proposed right should be subject to (i) a limit on the amount of floor space that can change use to residential (ii) apply in Article 1(5) land i.e. land within a National Park, the Broads, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an area designated as a conservation area, and land within World Heritage Sites. 

Views are also sought on whether other issues should be considered as part of the prior approval such as the impact of the proposed residential use on neighbouring industrial/employment uses.

  • Creating new homes from sui generis uses

Permitted development rights for laundrettes, amusement arcades/centres, casinos and nightclubs to change use to residential C3 use, and to carry out building work directly related to the change of use.

The proposed right would be subject to prior approval in respect of transport and highways impacts, contamination risks and flooding risks. 

The right would not apply in Article 1(5) land i.e. land within a National Park, the Broads, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an area designated as a conservation area, and land within World Heritage Sites.  It would also not apply to listed or protected buildings, SSSIs, in safety hazard areas or in military areas.

Views are sought on whether a floor space limit should be imposed and whether the change should be subject to prior approval in respect of design and external appearance.

  • Office to residential permitted development rights

Permitted development rights allowing a change of use from offices (B1(a)) to residential (C3) were introduced for a period of three years from 30 May 2013 to 30 May 2016. 

The consultation proposal is for effectively the same permitted development right, from 16 May 2016, but subject to an amended prior approval process.  The prior approval process, as currently, would be in respect of highways and transport impacts, flooding and contamination risks.  In addition views are sought on defining the prior approval required to allow local planning authorities to consider the impact of the significant loss of the most strategically important office accommodation within the local area.

The right would not apply to listed or protected buildings, safety hazard areas or military areas.  In May 2013 a total of 33 areas within 17 planning authorities were made exempt from the temporary right.  The consultation suggests that the exemptions which apply to the current permitted development right will not be extended to apply to the new right.  

Proposed changes include an amendment to the existing permitted development right to extend the time for completion for developments with prior approval from 30 May 2016 to 30 May 2019.

  • Extensions to dwellings

It is proposed to make permanent the permitted development rights for householders introduced in May 2013, increasing the size limits allowed for single storey rear extensions on dwelling houses.  The rights were initially introduced for a three-year period.  The deadline to complete an extension using the existing temporary permitted development rights by May 2016 it is proposed will be removed.

High Streets 

  • Increasing flexibilities for high street uses

It is proposed that the shops (A1) use class (e.g. shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, travel and ticket agencies, etc.), should be broadened to incorporate the majority of uses currently the financial and professional services use (A2) use class (e.g. financial services such as banks and building societies, professional services).  The new A1 use class would include both retail and professional/financial services). 

Betting shops (and loan shops) will remain in and be assigned the A2 use class; nothing else will be in that use class. 

It is proposed that betting shops will be defined as holding a betting premises licence under section 105 of the Gambling Act 2005. 

Existing rights to move into the new use class A2 (including from food and drink uses) will no longer be available, meaning that a new betting shop or loan shop will require planning permission. 

  • Supporting a broader range of uses on the high street

The consultation proposes a new permitted development rights for the change of use from existing (i) A1 and A2 premises and (ii) some sui generis uses - laundrettes, amusement arcades/ centres, casinos and nightclubs (in use at the time of the Autumn Statement 2013), to change use to restaurants and cafés (A3). 

Restrictions will apply.  A size threshold of 150 square metres is proposed.  The right will be subject to prior approval in the form of a neighbour notification scheme, which will allow those immediately adjacent to the property (next to, above and at the rear), to make representations to the local planning authority in respect of the impact of the proposed change of use on local amenity, covering issues such as noise, odours, traffic and hours of opening.  The consultation states that the right will provide safeguards where the retail premises is a local service, or its loss will have an adverse impact on the shopping area.

The right will not apply to listed buildings and scheduled monuments, SSSIs, safety hazard and military areas.

  • Supporting the diversification of leisure uses on the high street

A new permitted development right to enable the change of use from A1, A2 and laundrettes, amusement arcades/centres and nightclubs (in that use at the time of the Autumn Statement 2013), to assembly and leisure (D2).

No size restriction is proposed, but prior approval in respect of transport and highways, parking, and noise would apply. The right would not apply in Article 1 (5) land (i.e. land within a National Park, the Broads, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an area designated as a conservation area, and land within World Heritage Sites), to listed buildings, scheduled monuments, in SSSIs, safety hazard or military areas. 

Supporting retail facilities

  • Car parking facilities

To give retailers more scope to use their parking facilities more effectively and proposes to allow the erection of small, ancillary buildings which could facilitate ‘click and collect’ services. 

Prior approval will be required and will consider the design, siting and external appearance of any new structure. 

  • Back of house loading bay capacity

To make it easier for retailers to increase their back of house loading bay capacity, allowing them to store more goods for home delivery and ‘click and collect’ it is proposed to allow the installation of new loading bay doors and new loading ramps in existing shops.  It is proposed to restrict the increase in size of an existing loading bay to no more than 20%.

The permitted development right should not apply in Article 1(5) land (i.e. land within a National Park, the Broads, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an area designated as a conservation area, and land within World Heritage Sites); to listed buildings, scheduled monuments, and SSSIs.

  • Mezzanine floors

It is proposed to permit retailers to increase an internal mezzanine floor currently limited to up to 200 square metres without requiring a planning application. Views are sought on what size would be appropriate. 

  • Maximum parking standards

The Government is seeking views on whether parking policy should be strengthened to tackle on-street parking problems by restricting powers to set maximum parking standards.  

Supporting Growth

The consultation makes a number of further proposals to aimed to support growth by freeing up business in a number of specific ways.

  • Film and television industries

A permitted development right for use of buildings and land as temporary locations for commercial filming is proposed.  Restrictions would apply so that the right would not include any alteration of any existing building and maximum height limits for outside sets. The right would also be subject to prior approval to cover highways and transport, travel plan, noise and light.      

The permitted development right should not apply in Article 1(5) land (i.e. land within a National Park, the Broads, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an area designated as a conservation area, and land within World Heritage Sites); to listed buildings, scheduled monuments, and SSSIs.

  • Solar PV panels for commercial properties

A permitted development right for the installation of solar PV up to 1MW on the roof on non-domestic buildings is proposed.  It is proposed that the right will be subject to prior approval to consider siting and design in order to minimise glare on neighbouring or overlooking properties.  Restrictions would apply related to the roof mounting of the panels.  The right would not apply on a roof slope which fronts the highway, in Article 1(5) land (i.e. land within a National Park, the Broads, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an area designated as a conservation area, and land within World Heritage Sites); to listed buildings and scheduled monuments.

  • Extensions to business premises

In May 2013 a new permitted development right was introduced increasing the size limits allowed for extensions to shops, financial and professional services, offices, warehouses and industrial premises.  Initially introduced as a temporary right for a three year period, the consultation proposed to make this right permanent.  The deadline to complete an extension using the existing rights by May 2016 would be removed. 

  • Permitted development rights for waste management facilities

The consultation proposes to introduce permitted development rights for those waste management facilities currently sui generis, by enabling the carrying out of operations for the replacement of any plant or machinery and buildings ion land within the curtilage of a waste management facility and which is ancillary to the main waste management operation.  Restrictions would apply.

  • Equipment housings for sewerage undertakers

The consultation proposes a permitted development right that would allow sewerage undertakers to carry out the installation of a pumping station, valve house, control panel or switch gear house into a sewerage system.  The rights will be subject to a limit of 29 cubic metres in capacity for any installation that is carried out at or above ground level or under a highway used by vehicular traffic. 

  • Article 4 restrictions     

Currently, where prior approval has been given for a change of use or to carry out works, but the change or works have not taken place when an Article 4 direction subsequently comes into force, the developer would have to submit a planning application.  The consultation states that it is the Government's intention to amend the Article 4 direction so that permitted development rights cannot be removed from properties for which a prior approval has already been given, but the development has not yet taken place. 

  • Fees

The consultation proposes the following fee structure:

Click here to view table.