Monthly Archives: May 2019


Alterations to the Town and Country Planning


In 2015 the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order was introduced which made significant changes to the planning system. These changes made it easier for homeowners to extend their properties and for commercial premises to change use.

The Government has recently ratified proposed changes to the Order, with new legislation enacting the changes coming into force on the 25th May 2019.

The relevant statutory instrument went before parliament on the 3rd May 2019 a link can be found here.

A number of significant changes are made to the Order as follows:

  • In respect of Part 1, Class A – permitted development for larger householder extensions, extensions between 3 and 6 metres for Semi-Detached and Terraced Houses and between 4 and 8 metres for Detached Houses were previously subject to an application for prior approval to the Local Authority with a deadline for completion and a requirement to notify the Authority upon completion. The prior approval process is still in place but there is no longer a deadline date for completion or a requirement to notify. In essence, this process which was originally a temporary measure has now been made permanent
  • In respect of Part 3, a new Class JA has been introduced for permitted development for a change of use of A1 (Shops), A2(Financial and Professional Services), A5(Hot Food Takeaways) or a betting office, payday loan shop or laundrette to a use falling within B1(a) Offices. This is subject to a number of restrictions including that the change of use relates to no more than 500square metres of space and a condition that an application is made to the Local Authority for prior approval. Clear guidelines are provided on the criteria to be considered in determining if prior approval should be granted including the impacts upon the highway, the impact of noise and disturbance from the surrounding premises on future occupiers and the impact of the conversion upon adequate services. There is a 3-year timescale to implement the permission once prior approval is granted
  • Under Part 3, Class M the conversion of A1/A2 properties to a dwelling house is allowed subject to the prior approval of the local Planning Authority, this has now been extended to include conversion from an A5 use into a dwellinghouse. As with Class JA there are restrictions on this which include the change of use to take place being limited to 150 square metres of space. As with class JA there are similar criteria to be considered in Class M which are already established
  • Part 4, Class D allows temporary flexible uses for up to 2 years, this has now been extended to allow flexible uses to include D1 Non-Residential Institutions. There is no requirement to make an application to the Local Authority for prior approval under this section

There are various other relatively minor changes and points of clarification made via the statutory instrument but the significant changes have been summarised above.


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The housing and zero emissions report


Is it possible to achieve zero carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses by 2050?

Time will tell…

The Committee on Climate Change(CCC) recently issued its widely publicised report, ‘Net Zero – the UK’s contribution to stopping global warming”, recommending a new emissions target of net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

The report responds to a request from the governments of the UK, Wales and Scotland, asking the Committee to reassess the UK’s long-term emissions targets. The CCC’s new emissions scenarios draw on new research projects, three expert advisory groups, and reviews of the work of the IPCC and others.

Whilst the CCC have no legislative or policy-making powers, they will be influential on government policies.

Read the report here.

Housing and zero emissions…

The Government have said that from 2025 all new builds will not be connected to the gas grid. The CCC has said that by 2035 almost all replacement heating systems for existing homes must be low-carbon or ready for hydrogen. That will be the main consideration for housebuilders and their supply chains. Low-cost heating systems will be in high demand.

Decarbonisation of homes…

The CCC report sets out various scenarios including the decarbonisation of some of the remaining 20% of homes not decarbonised in the central scenario. It said these were mainly homes on the gas grid with limited space and homes that were more difficult to retrofit. However, 10% of homes still did not have low carbon heating under this new scenario. This might prove to be a conservative assumption, depending on progress with decarbonisation of heat.

In the CCC report, there was a lot of uncertainty about which heat decarbonisation pathway(s) would be the most technically, economically and socially feasible but the further ambition scenario made it more likely that hydrogen would play a role– for example in homes with space constraints and decarbonise the demand for peak heating. Technically speaking, the further ambition scenario is feasible but heat decarbonisation, in particular, had a long way to go and required policy action to demonstrate, test and scale up the supply and demand side technologies required.

An advisory group…

The CCC created a net zero advisory group to advise how the UK could reduce emissions to net-zero. The advisory group noted that CCC’s analysis suggested that there should be a reduction in UK GHG emissions of more than 95% by 2050. Based on this analysis and the need to maintain UK leadership, the advisory group’s view was that a net zero GHG target should be set for 2050.

It will all come at a cost…

The report said that action was needed to manage the transition for communities that could be exposed to high economic and social costs because of the need to phase out some industries or infrastructures.

Business Green said,To transition homes and industry to use low-carbon gas, Government needs to provide a long-term vision and joined-up policy framework for heat, industry and transport. But more than anything, we must now continue moving forward; as the Committee makes clear, adopting a ‘net zero’ target means an action is needed urgently. Energy network investment and innovation incentives for decarbonisation, set by the energy regulator Ofgem, should be more ambitious over the next decade, and should work with other government initiatives to support large-scale trials on options for decarbonising gas.”

How will the land be affected?

The rate of which CO2 would be removed from the atmosphere was predicted at a rate of 30,000 hectares per year, similar to the rate of afforestation achieved in the 1980s. The main challenge was whether the land for this would be available, which partly depended on improvements in agricultural productivity and dietary trends.

Other considerations to achieve the zero emission’s goal would be longer policy timetables with a consistent and stable framework and power supplies using a flexible gas plant with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) for ‘mid-merit’ power and burning hydrogen to cover peak demand. This depended on CCS being fully commercialised and hydrogen being produced using zero-carbon energy sources. The amount of flexible generation required would depend on the extent of other sources of flexibility which might be cheaper, including demand-side response, storage and interconnectors.

We recently saw the passionate demonstrations in London about the environment, roads were closed and arrests were made. Whether you agree or not with the protestor’s methods, one thing is clear – there needs to be a behavioural change on our part too. Our approach to saving the environment is really important and steps can be taken in your home or with the cars you drive.

You can use the government’s ‘Pathways’ analysis calculator for 2050 to give you key insights into how you can make a difference. Find out about the analysis calculator. 

Urbanissta offers a commercial service, specialising in securing implementable planning permissions and delivering high quality landscaping schemes. For more information about our services, contact us today.


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The Planning Directorate newsletter


Surveys, tests, schemes and guidance…

In March 2019, MHCLG Chief Planner Steve Quartermain published the Planning Directorate newsletter.

You can read the full newsletter here.

What did we learn from the newsletter?

LPAs get a firm reminder about keeping LDSs up to date…

  • Quatermain took some LPAs to task for not keeping LDSs up to date and failing to advise the Inspectorate of the dates of proposed Local Plan publication and submission dates
  • The LPAs were reminded that they could not refuse to validate planning applications made electronically without paper copies or vice versa
  • Quartermain briefed planners on the Spring Statement and updates to national planning policy and guidance

Survey of planning departments begins…

  • On the 28th February 2019, a survey began of planning departments on behalf of the LGA and MHCLG. The survey was to understand long term resourcing pressures and skills gaps for local authorities
  • The topic of the 20% increase in planning fees for local authorities and what improvements it has facilitated was discussed
  • Local authorities were asked to respond to the survey which was provided on the 5th March, the closing date was the 20th March 2019

The housing delivery test measurement published…

  • On the 19th February 2019, the housing delivery test measurement for 2018 was published and a technical note setting out how the housing delivery test was calculated
  • The housing delivery test provides transparency about where housing is or is not being delivered in relation to the number of homes communities require
  • If a new plan containing a new housing requirement has been adopted, Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are encouraged to contact to have their result recalculated

Read the 2018 Housing delivery test measurement by the local planning authority and a technical note on the process used in its calculation.

Local development schemes and local plan submission dates reviewed…

  • Local development schemes and plan submission dates Section 15 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires every LPA to put in place a local development scheme (LDS) which should set out the documents which will comprise the local plan for the area
  • The scheme was developed so local communities and interested parties can keep track of plan progress. In addition, the NPPF sets out that plans should be reviewed every 5 years potentially leading to an update. This should be reflected in the LDS
  • In practice, some LPAs are not keeping LDSs up to date which could impact on the ability of the community and key stakeholders to take part in the plan process  

Planning application validations…

  • Quartermain stressed that LPAs could not refuse to validate an application if an applicant who had made an application electronically and did not provide paper copies
  • LPAs could not refuse to validate an application if an applicant did not provide an electronic copy of the application
  • LPAs could not insist that a planning application was only made via the planning portal or any route

Read about planning guidance letters to planning officers.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework was updated on the 19th February 2019 and sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.

This revised Framework replaces the previous National Planning Policy Framework published in March 2012 and revised in July 2018.

Find out more here. 


Who is Steve Quatermain? 

Urbanissta offers a commercial service, specialising in securing implementable planning permissions and delivering high quality landscaping schemes. For more information about our services, contact us today.


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