Property Litigation Solicitors in the UK | HB 121 Solicitors

Property Solicitors in the UK have a lot to do for new planning rules

The most far reaching we shall deal with at the end of this article, but the first area is that new planning rules have been brought in to revitalise town centres and High Streets. Full Planning Applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes.

Home Owners can also increase the value and size of their homes by adding up to two stories to create new homes or more living space in their existing home. This will be through a fast track approval process. It is still important to contact the Local Planning Authority to check that all is well and see if “prior approval” (this means that the principle of the development is established but the detail and impact it has on neighbours and the locality still have to be considered) is required.

The second is changes to the “Change of Use” categories. In September 2020 the Government introduced changes to enable premises to move freely between various town centre or high street uses. There may be no need to apply for Planning Permission if you want to change from one use class to another. It is already the case, for instance, that the conversion of commercial premises use from business or storage to a dwelling house does not need specific Planning Permission. It should be noted, however, that there are some exceptions, but again, you should check with the Local Planning Authority whether a prior notification application is required or whether any exemption applies to the development you are anticipating.

Also, for agricultural buildings, conversions to dwelling houses can be permitted development. Some Local Authorities are generally reluctant to allow barn conversations, however, and, again, speak to your relevant authority before undertaking any work.

There is not space enough in this article to give all the answers – just to highlight areas of change so you can think whether you may fall in any of the affected categories, then you can explore further. If you need advice contact us on 01562 702655.

The third area for property solicitors is the Governments long awaited and controversial white paper consulting and called “Planning for the Future”. This proposes radical changes for the planning system to get Britain Building, but others have called it a Developers Charter and think that the balance between building houses and protecting a locality will be slanted too much towards the developer. It also has to be said that the white paper is concentrating very much on getting people on to the Home Ownership ladder and includes provisions for creating beautiful and sustainable places, it is rather light on proposals for commercial properties and land which, of course, are vital for the economy.

There will be three “pillars” underpinning the scheme. The biggest change is that local development plans will have to categorise land into growth, renewal, or protected areas. If a property is in a protected area, then the planning regime is anticipated to be quite similar to the current system. Renewal areas will receive permission in principle, but a planning application will still be required. Growth areas, will have in effect, Outline Planning Permission granted automatically and then the details (similar to the current “Reserved Matters” Application) will be all that is required. If a development is not as anticipated in the local development plan, then permission can still be requested using a similar system as now, but the presumption in favour of the development plan will be stronger and development proposals will be looked at against a new “National Planning Policy Framework”. This would become the primary source of policy on development control. Local plans will be expected to identify development need for, at least, 10 years and are anticipated to take up to 30 months in the production of the plan. Local consultation will be required.

Coupled with all of this, is the idea of abandoning the existing Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy arrangements and proposing a new simpler set national levy.

As can be expected there is a lot of resistance to these plans and the consultation ends at the end of October 2020. It will be interesting to see what we end up with. The writer, rather cynically anticipates, that anything the Government does to simplify the Planning process will fail miserably as it has in the past. It is very likely that to try and satisfy all bodies that what we have currently will end up much more complicated.

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