In September this year the Government introduced a number of changes to support more flexible uses of premises in England through amending the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (“the Order”) and Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(England) Order 2015 (“GPDO”) to allow for specified changes of use between use classes (covered in our previous blog post here).

On 9 November 2020, the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (“the Regulations”) were made. The majority of the Regulations, which amend the GPDO, come into force on 3 December 2020. A summary of the key amendments are:

  • Classes DA (Schedule 2, Part 4) and BA (Schedule 2, Part 12) have been amended allow a restaurant, cafe, or drinking establishment with expanded food provision to be used for the provision of takeaway food and for a market to be held by or on behalf of a local authority on an extended temporary basis to 23 March 2022;
  • Class B (Schedule 2, Part 11) removes the permitted development right to demolish a building used as a concert hall, theatre or a venue for live music performance. This means that express planning permission would be required for these works;
  • Class A (Schedule 2, Part 12A) extends the temporary right for local authorities and health service bodies to carry out development on land owned, occupied or maintained by them for the purposes of addressing emergencies by an extra year to 31 December 2021. The Nightingale hospitals were constructed using this right at the start of the pandemic;
  • Class Q (Schedule 2, Part 19) extends the current time limit for removing buildings, plant, machinery and other permitted erections and restoring land to its original condition where development is carried out by or on behalf of the Crown for the purpose of dealing with emergencies from 6 months to 12 months. In addition, a new additional Class QA (Schedule 2, Part 19) has been introduced which permits development carried out by the Crown which relates to preventing, reducing, controlling or mitigating a pandemic;
  • from 1 January 2021, Class BA (Schedule 2, Part 4) will be amended to allow an additional period of 28 days for a temporary use of land or an additional 14 days for the holding of a market or motor car and motorcycle racing including trials of speed, and practising for these activities.

Generally, the changes ensure greater flexibility and freedom for businesses and assist in the Government’s attempts to boost the economy during the pandemic. The Government is also considering whether to make these reforms permanent.

In addition, and of particular note, for applications for prior approval relating to new dwellings submitted on or after 6 April 2021 in England, there will be a requirement for compliance as a minimum with the Nationally Described Space Standards which can be found here. The space standard begins at 37m² of floorspace for a new one bed flat with a shower room and 39m² with a bathroom, ensuring proper living space for a single occupier and increases to 61m²  for a 2 bed. There has been growing criticism regarding the use of permitted development rights leading to poor quality housing so the changes to ensure compliance with the space standards are likely to be welcomed by the industry.