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Eversheds Speed Brief – Changes to and Consolidation of Permitted Development Rights

  • United Kingdom
  • Real estate planning - Planning briefings


Just before the pre-election purdah period commenced a piece of secondary legislation surfaced that many planning practitioners will have welcomed – namely the consolidation of the raft of existing permitted development rights in a new General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) (see link below). This took effect on 15th April 2015 and the 43 parts of the 1995 Order have been rearranged into 19 themed parts in the 2015 version.

In addition, the revamped GPDO introduces additional permitted development (pd) rights. Whilst these include a range of development types, the general aim of these new rights is to support growth in the economy by reducing the circumstances where express planning permission is required. Having said this, many of these new categories of pd are still subject to a need to apply to the LPA to determine whether its prior approval will be required for certain details before the rights can be exercised. Certain rights are also curtailed when development is proposed on sensitive sites, including the curtilage of listed buildings, ANOBs, World Heritage Sites and SSSIs. As ever, the devil is in the detail so a close inspection of the terms of the GPDO is required before seeking to rely on pd rights.

The new pd rights include the following:-

  • For a three year period, a change of use from storage or distribution buildings (B8) to residential (C3) up to a limit of 500 sq m. 
  • A change of use of amusement arcades/centres and casinos, to residential (C3) use coupled with a right to and carry out associated building works that are reasonably necessary to make this change. The limit here is 150 sq m.
  • A change of use from shops (A1) to financial and professional services (A2).
  • Whilst betting offices and pay day loan shops are removed from the A2 use class and become sui generis they will continue to benefit from permitted development rights to change to A1 and A2 uses. In addition they will benefit from the pd right to temporarily change use for a period up to 2 years.
  • A change the use from shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), betting offices, pay day loan shops and casinos to restaurants and cafés (A3) and for limited associated building works. The limit here is 150 sq m.
  • A change of use from shops (A1) and financial and professional services (A2) to assembly and leisure uses (D2), with a limit of 200 sq m.
  • Allowing retailers to erect click and collect facilities within the curtilage of their existing premises. This is limited to one facility per retail premises and any buildings are limited to 4 metres in height and 20 metres of gross floor space.
  • Allowing retailers to modify the size of their existing shop loading bay by up to 20% in any dimension
  • Allowing for temporary filming and associated operational development for the sole purpose of commercial filmmaking.
  • Allowing the installation, alteration or replacement of Solar Photovoltaics (PV) on the roofs of nondomestic buildings, up to a capacity of 1 Megawatt, subject to certain limitations.
  • Allowing waste operators for sui generis waste management facilities to replace any plant or machinery and buildings on land within the curtilage of a waste management facility, and which is ancillary to the main waste management operation.
  • Allowing sewerage undertakers to install a pumping station, valve house, control panel housing or switch-gear house in a sewerage system.

In addition the 2015 GPDO allows for an extension of the current pd right for larger householder rear extensions for a further 3 year period until 30th May 2019 and makes permanent the time limited increased pd rights introduced in May 2013 for extensions to shops, offices, industrial and warehouse buildings.

Notable by its absence is the extension of the pd rights to convert from office to residential beyond 30 May 2016. Topically this chimes in with the Liberal Democrat’s election manifesto pledge to “bring to an end the permitted development rights for converting offices to residential”.

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