Monday, 7 September 2020

Planning law changes - how will Government changes affect you?

A few new rules have been introduced by the Government over the last few months, and we are all still trying to get our heads around them. Even those in charge can get confused; It's easily done.  Hopefully, this document will at least, be able to shed some light on the never-ending questions.


The changes that have been announced refer to a range of new permitted development rights (which will be discussed further down in this blog) and the class order for businesses. Essentially, from the 1st September, the class orders are being altered. This means you could change the use of your business building without requiring "change of use". This will be good news for owners who rent out premises as they will have a broader clientele with more scope on what businesses can open. The more opportunities there are, the more interest you'll get from others. Hopefully, this will also encourage the use of commercial builds that we, as consumers, want, rather than what we are told we need. There are obviously some restrictions with certain classes, but actually, there are more that fall under the change than those that don't. You can find out more information here


The Town and Country Planning permitted development rights have also been updated, and if there wasn't confusion at what you could do before, there certainly is now. The permitted development rights now say that you could possibly have the right to extend your home up by two storeys. This applies to a detached, semi-detached or even a terraced property. There are obviously restrictions. You can't just add as much height as you'd like, as the maximum allowable height is 18m in total including the extension, so essentially from the ground to the tip of the new roof. But for a terrace, you can not extend more than 3.5m higher than the next tallest house in the row.


If your house was built between 1st July 1948 and 28th October 2018, then you fit into the right bracket and have ticked the first box. These new rules DO NOT apply to homes that are in conservation areas, so you really need to check that out. You can find out your conservation status with a quick call to your local planning office.


Permitted development rights essentially allow you to make certain changes, extensions and alterations to your build without gaining planning permission. You must remember though, that just because you don't require planning permission, you will still need your building regulations certificate so you must involve building control and get each stage signed off. These new changes can make the difference to a family either having to move in order to gain more space or being able to extend and staying put. We have found that recently we have needed our homes to be more flexible and this is certainly one solution. For years now, we have had permitted development rights that have allowed us to make certain changes to our homes, but, never on the scale that has been put forward here.


From the 1st August 2020, we will also benefit from the change to permitted development rights to blocks of flats. Essentially flats will be able to be extended upwards with a lot more ease than before. More information can be found here


These new rules make quite an impact and, I think you will find a lot of people taking advantage of the changes. I will reserve judgement as to whether this is a good thing. It is early days and we seemingly have to put a lot of trust into other people that what they're doing won't change our landscape forever.


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