7 March 2014
As part of the Government’s reform of the planning system, the Department for Communities and Local Government has launched a new planning practice guidance web-based resource for England to link with the National Planning Policy Framework.
This announcement was accompanied by a written statement from the Planning Minister, Nick Boles, which claims this streamlines planning guidance.
While the planning practice guidance (e-PPG) replaces over 150 previous guidance documents it still represents over 40 guidance notes on a range of topics and planning processes. The government also intends to issue updates at any time, as they consider necessary. So, more than ever, regular review of the e-PPG will be needed by developers to make sure they maintain an understanding of the relevant considerations for planning decisions.
Some of the main headlines of the new e-PPG are:
In his written statement, the Planning Minister also announces a set of further reforms to provide greater flexibilities for changes of use in order to try and encourage the re-use of empty and under-used buildings. Details are expected in an amendment to the General Permitted Development Order.
Reforms will allow change of use from shops (class A1) and financial and professional services (A2) outside key shopping areas to houses (C3). In addition, shops (A1) will be able to change to banks, building societies, credit unions and friendly societies, within the A2 use class. This would not cover betting shops or payday loan shops. Agricultural buildings will be able to change to provide a maximum of 3 houses.
The ability to take advantage of amended permitted development rights will be subject to various limitations and is expected to require a prior approval process by the local planning authority.
Full details of the national planning policy guidance can be found here.
If you would like to discuss or clarify any matter in this note or in the policy guidance, please contact one of our experts in one of our global locations.