Changes to Planning Permitted Development Rights

27th April 2021 / Posted by Susannah Wilks

In December 2020, the Government began a consultation on a variety of changes to permitted development rights. The outcome of several elements of that consultation have now been published and the associated amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (GPDO) have been laid before Parliament in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021.

In essence, the Government has reined back the proposals consulted on by adding floorspace limitations, vacancy and location limitations, having reflected on the consultation responses it received. And as with the permitted development rights for additional storeys to provide new dwellings, introduced in summer 2020, the bold press releases are not inaccurate, but do not flag the hurdles to be overcome before utilising these permitted developments becomes a viable option.

Notwithstanding, Class MA, which will allow very many properties within Class E to change to residential without consideration of impact on the High Street if the proposal is outside of a conservation area and limited consideration if it is within, will be among the most significant planning changes in a generation. Only listed buildings and their curtilage and properties in the most sensitive locations such as World Heritage Sites, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty will be excluded from the new PD right. The legislation precludes or requires assessment of loss of retail and office in beautiful and heritage locations, but in no other retail or business destinations. The retail assessment required by the current Class M PD right will fall away.

Delivering housing and the reuse of redundant shopping space are known to be the Government’s priority and the Class MA permitted development right emphasises this.