The Department of Communities and Local Government has published a consultation on proposals to reduce the need for businesses to make applications for planning permission when carrying out minor development.

Background

Where development falls within Schedule 2 to the General Permitted Development Order 1995, express planning permission is not required because it is automatically granted under article 3.

However, article 4 allows local planning authorities (LPAs) to withdraw specific permitted development (PD) rights, with the effect planning permission will still be required. Currently, this carries with it a compensation liability on the LPA.

Section 189 of the Planning Act 2008 limits the liability of the LPA to pay compensation. Section 189 is expected to come into force in April 2010.

Shops

Shops, catering and financial and professional services establishments will have new PD rights. This will allow for alterations and extensions to existing buildings up to 50 square metres, subject to a maximum of 25% of existing floorspace.

There are conditions on the PD rights. The extension or alteration must:

  • be single storey and a maximum height of 5 metres;
  • be no closer to a highway or communal parking area than the existing building;
  • be constructed using similar materials to the existing building;
  • not be within the curtilage of, nor in front of, a listed building; and
  • not result in the loss of turning space for vehicles.
  • Freestanding buildings are not allowed other than for trolley stores within the curtilage of shops. There are limits on the size of the trolley stores which are permitted.

Offices

The new PD rights only apply to:

  • offices;
  • buildings used for research and development R&D) purposes; and
  • buildings used for industrial purposes,

in each case within Use Class B1 (i.e. uses which would be acceptable within a residential area).

These premises would have new PD rights to extend existing buildings up to 50 square metres subject to a maximum of 25% of existing floorspace and subject to the following limitations.

The extension or alteration must:-

  • be no higher than the existing building (unless the property is within 10 metres of a boundary, in which case the maximum height is 5 metres);
  • not be within 5 metres of a highway and not visible from a highway;
  • be constructed of similar materials to the existing building;
  • not be within the curtilage of a listed building; and
  • not result in the loss of turning space for vehicles.

There is no right to construct new freestanding buildings.

Industry and warehousing

There are existing PD rights to build extensions of up to 1000 square metres (or 500 square metres in special areas such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty), provided the area of the extension does not exceed 25% of the area of the existing building (10% in special areas).

The new PD rights would allow one new building to be constructed per existing building. Each new building cannot be more than 100 square metres, and there is an overall maximum of 1000 square metres (500 square metres in special areas) or 25% of extra floorspace.

The new building or extension must:

  • be no higher than the existing building (or higher than 5 metres if within 10 metres of the boundary);
  • not be within 5 metres of a boundary or visible from a highway;
  • not result in the loss of turning space for vehicles; and
  • not be within the curtilage of a listed building.

There is an overall maximum of 50% ground coverage of the curtilage resulting from extensions and sections of new buildings collectively.

In addition, the new PD rights will apply to premises used for R&D. This is not the case at present.

Prior approval regime

Some forms of development fall into a regime between PD rights and express planning permission. In these cases the LPA cannot object to the principle of development, but the developer must submit details such as siting and design for the LPA's approval. If the LPA does not object within a set time, the approval is deemed to have been given.

Currently the regime covers certain agricultural development (the objection period for which is 28 days), and telecommunications applications (56-day objection period).

It is proposed to add two further types of development – shop fronts and automated teller machines (ATMs). The objection period for both will be 28 days.

Alterations to existing shop fronts (excluding grilles and security shutters) would be subject to the regime, but not if in a conservation area or world heritage site.

The consultation period ends on 23 October 2009.