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Planning update - August 2020 (part 1)

In late July, the Government announced a raft of changes to the planning system - most notably a significant overhaul of the use classes system to allow business greater flexibility to adapt as need and demand of services rapidly changes, alongside the introduction of a range of new permitted development rights aimed at bolstering housing supply and allowing more flexibility for homeowners. The key changes are summarised below.

Use Classes Order

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 will come into effect on 1 September. Once in force, the use classes order will be replaced by a new streamlined version. Classes A1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and D1, 2 will all be removed under the new use classes order, and will instead be replaced by the following overarching new use classes:

  • Class E: Commercial, business and services
  • Class F1: (Learning and non-residential institutions)
  • Class F2: Local community uses
Class E Class F1 Class F2
Commercial, business & services Learning and non-residential institutions Local community uses
(a) Shops
(b) Restaurants
(c) The following services:
(i) financial services
(ii) professional services
(iii) other services (which can be carried out in a commercial, business or service locality)
(d) Indoor sport, recreation or fitness centres
(e) Medical or health services
(f) Creches, day nurseries and day centres
(g) The following services:
(i) offices
(ii) research and development
(iii) any industrial process
(a) Schools and education facilities
(b) Art galleries
(c) Museums
(d) Libraries
(e) Public or exhibition halls
(f) Places of worship
(g) Law courts
(a) Shops selling mostly essential goods
(b) Meeting halls
(c) Areas for outdoor sport, not involving (motorised vehicles or firearms)
(d) Swimming pools and ice rinks

Classes B2, B8, C1, C2, C3 and C4 will remain unaffected. Use class B1(c) - which previously covered industrial processes (which can be carried out in residential locations) has been replaced by new use class E(g)(iii) set out above.

Note: The new use class F2(a) (shops selling mostly essential goods) is defined as "units selling a range of dry goods and food to visiting members of the public where there are no commercial units within 1000m and the unit's area is under 280sqm"
The following uses under classes A and D will now become sui generis use:

  • Public houses, wine bars or other drinking establishments (formerly class A4)
  • Drinking establishments with food provision (formerly class A4 or A5)
  • Hot food takeaways (formerly class A5)
  • Live music venues (formerly class D2)
  • Cinemas (formerly class D2(a))
  • Concert halls (formerly class D2(b)
  • Bingo halls (formerly class D2(c))
  • Dance halls (formerly class D2(d)

Permitted Development Rights

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Order 2020 will come into effect on 31 August 2020, and will introduce the following new permitted development rights:

Demolition of vacant buildings

New permitted development rights will allow vacant former office or industrial buildings to be demolished and replaced with new residential units. Prior approval must still be obtained in respect of matters including traffic impact, noise impact, contamination, design and external appearance, and impact on amenity. Other conditions require:

  • The relevant building to have been entirely vacant for at least six months prior to the date of the application for prior approval, and must have been built before 1 January 1990

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2020 will come into effect on 31 August 2020, and will introduce the following new permitted development rights.

Upwards extensions

New permitted development rights will allow homeowners to extend their properties via upwards extensions, whether they live in detached, semi-detached or terraced houses. Subject to certain conditions and size parameters, the rights will allow the construction of up to two additional storeys on properties which already include two or more storeys above ground level, and one additional storey on properties which only have one storey above ground level. Prior approval will need to be obtained for matter relating to impact on local amenity, design and external appearance of the extension, and potential impact on air traffic and defence assets.

If you have any queries in relation to the updates to the use classes order or to permitted development rights, then please contact someone in Ashfords specialist Planning Team.

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