Tag Archives: planning


Community Infrastructure Levy Changes Following Review


Following a Community Infrastructure Levy review which began in late 2015, with the findings being published in a report in early 2017, the Government have now made changes to the CIL regulations via The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) (England) (No2) Regulations 2019 implemented on 1st September 2019.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a planning charge first introduced by the Planning Act 2008 which came into force in April 2010 via the Community Infrastructure Regulations 2010, it is an important tool for local authorities to enable them to deliver their infrastructure requirements to support development within their local area. A local authority must consult on any proposed levy rates and these must be approved and a charging schedule be published before the levy is formally in place.

Development is potentially liable for CIL if it would create a net additional floor space of 100 square metres or more, or creates a new dwelling. There is an opportunity to claim relief or exemption from the levy but set criteria must be met and procedures followed for this to occur.

CIL Review Group

In November 2015 the CIL review group was set up with a specific purpose to:

“Assess the extent to which CIL does or can provide an effective mechanism for funding infrastructure, and to recommend changes that would improve its operation in support of the Government’s wider housing and growth objectives”.

In summary, the remit of the group was to look at the following:

(i) The relationship between CIL and Section 106 agreements in delivering infrastructure.

(ii) The impact of CIL on development viability.

(iii) The exemptions and reliefs from CIL.

(iv) The administration and governance associated with charging, collecting and spending CIL.

(v) The ability of CIL to deliver infrastructure in a timely and transparent way.

(vi) The impact of the neighbourhood portion on local communities’ receptiveness to developmental.

(vii) The geographical scale at which CIL is collected and charged.

Following examination and in consideration of the consultation responses received the key issues were identified in a report published in February 2017 as follows:

(i)  A number of local authorities had decided not to introduce CIL at all with the outcome being a heavier reliance on Section. 106 than originally expected. This has also resulted in a number of smaller developers who could afford to make some contribution not being required to pay.

(ii) The amount of CIL raised overall has been much less than originally anticipated and hasn’t been helped by exemptions.

(iii) Where CIL has been produced it had not necessarily worked well for larger sites with complex site-specific mitigation requirements.

(iv) The burden and risk of providing CIL lay with local authorities who may not be well placed to deliver infrastructure in a timely manner.

(v) Necessary infrastructure has not been provided upfront when it is needed to support the earlier stages of development because further CIL money was awaited.

(vi) Where developers were continuing to make traditional S.106 payments difficulty was caused by pooling restrictions for large items of infrastructure that needed to be funded by more than five planning obligations.

Overall, the report concluded that the adoption of CIL did not meet the initial intention of a faster, fairer, simpler more certain and more transparent means of ensuring that all development contributed towards infrastructure need. It was also found that CIL did not compliment S.106 arrangements but rather caused complications and disruptions to them.

The CIL Regulations 2019

The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) (England) (No2) Regulations 2019 which came into effect on the 1 September 2019 is not wholly responsive to the findings of the review group but does make some notable changes summarised as follows:

(i) The removal of Pooling restrictions has occurred which no longer limits the number of contributions from Section 106 agreements to five.

(ii) Monitoring fees have been reviewed and a monitoring fee can be included if it is fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development and does not exceed the local authority’s estimate of its cost of monitoring the development over the lifetime of the related planning obligations.

(iii) The loss of exemption due to failure to serve a commencement notice has now been replaced with a surcharge.

(iv)  In the interests of transparency, there is now a requirement for local authorities to publish an annual ‘infrastructure funding statement’ these will replace existing 123 lists. These should include details of money raised by developer agreements for both CIL and S.106 agreements.

(v) Due to uncertainty in how charges should be applied further to a Section 73 permission, amendments have been made to clarify in essence only additional floor space will now be charged at the latest index rate with the previous floor space charged at the rate in place when the original development was first permitted.

(vi) A requirement has also been introduced to undertake consultation if a local authority is considering ceasing CIL charges.

A link to the CIL Regulations can be found here.

Contact us today if you wish to discuss any of our articles or need more information about our services.


Share this on:


British Housebuilding Industry – House of Commons Debate


On Thursday (5th September 2019) the House of Commons was subject of a Backbench debate on the British housebuilding industry.

Called by Siobhain McDonagh, Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, a background of housing supply, affordability and homelessness was presented to MPs. Thereafter, a detailed expose of the10 housebuilders in the FTSE 350 index was highlighted, concentrating heavily on the 4 housebuilders who are also in the FTSE 100 index. Matters such as landbanks, Chief Executive pay/bonuses, housing completions, and affordable housing provision were discussed.

Siobhain McDonagh MP opened the debate by looking at the current housing crisis, the record of the FTSE 350 companies and their contribution to solving this crisis. Pay inequality issues which she believes are rife across the industry were also raised.

Housing completions and supply at FTSE housebuilders

Source: Debate on a motion on the British housebuilding industry, page 5 – download PDF

The MP bemoaned the fact that between 2017 and 2018 only 6,464 new social homes were built, the second-lowest on record and referred back to the 1950s and 1960s when 150,000 and 203,000 council homes were delivered by Governments. With a current target of 300,000 new builds a year which has not yet been reached she focused on the 4 housebuilding companies who are in the FTSE 100 index, Barratt, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley. She highlighted Persimmon who had completed 16,449 homes and posted profits of £1.1 billion, half of which were subsidy through the Government’s Help to Buy scheme. Overall, she stated that together, these 4 companies collected a pre-tax profit of £3.68 billion despite completing only 53,198 homes, less than 18% of the Government’s build target.

Short-term land banks at FTSE 350 housebuilders

Source: Debate on a motion on the British housebuilding industry, page 7 – download PDF

The question was then posed that maybe volume housebuilders could not build out due to lack of developable land. This then turned to land banking with the extent to which the 10 housebuilders did this.

Several studies have considered whether land banking takes place. For example, a report by
Molior for the London Mayor in 2012 found that of the 210,000 existing planning permissions
for new homes in London, 55% were in the control of building firms while 45% were in the
control of non-building firms such as investment funds, historic landowners, government and
‘developers’ who do not build. Molior concluded that accusations of land banking directed at
builders were ‘misplaced.’ An updated report in 2014 found a smaller percentage of planning permissions held by non-developers.

It is acknowledged that developers retain stocks of land with planning permission as a strategy for managing pipelines and ‘smoothing out peaks and troughs in resource allocation.’ There are also holdings of ‘strategic land banks’ which are sites without planning permission which is generally held ‘under option,’ i.e. not recorded as in the developer’s ownership. Shelter and KPMG conclude that incentives to get strategic land through planning are “very high.” The MP highlighted that these 10 companies had a collective land bank of 470,068 yet only completed 86,685 homes between them.

If land banking is not the main problem, there does appear to be a case for ensuring that most of the suitable land for development is held by firms who intend to build on it.

Pay made to Chief Executives and ratios to staff employed in their firm was also a focus drawing on research from the High Pay Centre.

CEO pay ratio at FTSE housebuilders

Source: Debate on a motion on the British housebuilding industry, page 9 – download PDF

Whilst it was stated that it is in no doubt the CEOs worked hard, particular attention was paid to
Persimmon who after a Dispatches investigation and their then Chief Executive refusing, when on camera, to answer questions, had already been in the spotlight. MPs felt it wrong for Jeff Fairburn to be awarded a £75 million bonus despite, in their view, a substandard number of homes being built. In addition, it was highlighted that the median pay for an FTSE 100 house building CEOs is 228 times that of the typical worker, with Persimmon soaring to 964.
In terms of town planning, matters were raised but not extensively discussed during the debate,
these focused on:

– In Siohban McDongh MPs view (and experience at Connect House on a south London industrial
estate) the use of Permitted Development rights to convert office buildings into residential
resulting in poor living quality conditions
– The use of viability assessments at the planning application stage to lessen or not produce any
affordable housing when viewed against policy – the practice should be investigated
– Making it easier for self-build homes to be constructed for both market and social tenure. Here it was alleged by Richard Bacon MP that for
– Calls for further debate on the Town Planning system generally, Help to Buy, planning law and
building on the Green Belt Unsurprisingly, MPs highlighted particular constituency matters which practically leant weight to their arguments:
– George Howarth MP referred to a development in Summerhill Park which has had ongoing
leasehold issues.  When trying to meet to discuss, the MP informed the house that Redrow
Homes refused to and referred to Redrow as “arrogant.”
– Mark Francois MP referred to 3 housebuilders working in close proximity to each other in
Rayleigh each having contra-flow traffic lanes. When the schools went back last week, this
resulted in gridlock. When the MP contacted all 3 to seek resolution he found the smallest,
Silver City finished works within a week, Countryside shutting the lanes in the rush hours with
Barratt David Wilson offering him a wholly unsatisfactory response. Criticism was levelled at
the Highways authority for not anticipating the cumulative impact
– Many MPs lamented the 30% loss of SME housebuilders during the recession and wished to put matters in train to assist them in “standing up” to the 10 volume housebuilders subject of this debate. Here it was alleged by Richard Bacon MP that for SMEs “It is a very risky enterprise, and actually local planning authorities prefer dealing with a small number of large companies because it is easier for them.

There was little time left for the debate to seek the views of Shadow and Government Ministers:

– The Shadow housing Minister reeled off statistics to try to prove the Government were not
delivering and pointed to Labours plans if elected to sort this
– The Minister, Esther McVay, also did the usual political numbers scoring, “300,000 new homes
by the mid-2020s” and political acceptance, “the market is not working” and “there are not
enough homes built.”   It appears the only “new” thing she stated was establishing a new
“Centre for Excellence” in the north for construction and housebuilding.  Not much else was said

A short parting shot from Siobhan McDonagh MP was to seek clarity when discussing affordable housing:

“I want to ask that we ban the word “affordable” in the context of housing. “Affordable” means 80% of market rent, but the vast proportion of our constituents could never afford 80% of market rent. Let us talk about social housing rent and owner-occupation, but let us also clearly address the question of what is affordable, because the “affordable housing” is not affordable.”
A question was then put and agreed by the House. They resolved:
“That this House notes with concern the ongoing shortage of housing and the housing crisis across England; further notes with concern the number of families in temporary accommodation and the number of people rough sleeping; acknowledges that there are over one million households on housing waiting lists; recognises the Government’s target to build 300,000 new homes each year; acknowledges that this target has been missed in each year that the Government has been in office and that the number of homes constructed by housebuilding companies that are deemed affordable is insufficient; notes the pay ratios between executives and employees in FTSE 350 housebuilding companies; and calls on the Government to tackle the housing crisis as an urgent priority.”

For reference:
– House of Commons Research Briefing Paper …
– Hansard transcript details … https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2019-09-
– Parliament TV coverage of the debate … https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/de8c2a28-4dd2-
47e5-9283-7411a0abff01 Debate commences at 1545.

If you wish to discuss any of the topics in our blog articles, contact us today.

Share this on:


Must planning committees follow officers advice in reaching decisions?



In the news…

The House of Commons research team has issued a document to help answer this question.  Whilst most in the development industry will be aware of the machinations, suspense and in some cases surprising manner in which planning committees reach their decisions, this document offers a step by step guide to those in this industry and the wider public.  In addition, it rolls out many facts and statements such as:

  • In the year ending March 2019, 94% of planning applications in England were delegated to officers
  • For councillors and officers in local authorities, reference is made to the Local Government Association/Planning Advisory Service “Probity in Planning” guide
  • Whilst some may speculate that applications determined against officers recommendations are more likely to be allowed on appeal, Lichfields’ 2018 research demonstrates just that https://lichfields.uk/media/ 4419/refused-for-good-reason- when-councillors-go-against- officer-recommendations.pdf

If you want to discuss any of the topics that we cover in our blog articles, we’d be happy to have a chat. Contact us today.

Share this on:


The Financial viability in planning: conduct and reporting 1st edition 2019


The Financial viability in planning: conduct and reporting professional statement (1st edition) sets out 14 mandatory requirements which chartered surveyors must comply to when carrying out financial viability assessments in planning. The effective date when those processes need to be conducted by will be the 1st of September 2019.

Download: The Financial viability in planning: conduct and reporting (28th May 2019)

What is the aim of the new professional statement?

  • To demonstrate how a reasonable, objective and impartial outcome without interference should be achieved
  • To support the statutory planning decision process
  • To support and complement the government’s reforms to the planning process announced in July 2018 and further updates. This will include an overhaul of the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance on viability and related matters
  • To ensure that chartered surveyors and regulated firms recognise and adhere to their professional duties when working whilst working with significant public interest obligation mixed with commercial pressure

Surveyors and regulated firms

Surveyors and regulated firms will have to make sure that the terms and conditions of their instructions can accommodate compliance.

Chartered surveyors and viability

Chartered surveyors have had a key role in assessing viability in the planning system, most importantly, in negotiating planning obligations in planning applications.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

RICS created the  ‘Financial viability in planning’ guidance notes in 2012 to allow the viability policy contained in the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 to be applied in practice.

This guidance was extensively relied upon in the sector. Government has now revised its planning policy through the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2018 and Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) 2018 (and further updates in 2019). The RICS is in the process of revising their 2012 guidance to align with the new government planning policy and practice statements which seek to address viability much earlier in the process, at the plan-making stage.

Download the: National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2018

Download the: Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) 2018

Delivering development

Delivering 300,000 dwellings a year is the government’s priority. However, it has proven to be a tough target to meet. This is creating pressure on local planning authorities to build more affordable housing. To make sure that the appropriate balance is achieved between the planning policy ambitions and retaining the business case for development, government policy requires a viability assessment to be carried out to ensure the cumulative impact of planning obligations does not restrict delivering the plan objectives.

Stakeholder engagement and concerns

The RICS engaged extensively with stakeholders in the sector and obtained some valuable feedback. Some were dissatisfied about the standards to which viability assessments are being produced. The concerns extend from public representatives, the development sector, community groups and decision makers all of whom rely on viability assessments in a key public interest area. Questions about objectivity, conflicts of interest, transparency and contingency fees among others have been raised about those working for both the private and public sectors.

Individual appeal cases

The professional statement does not reference individual appeal cases. This is because the issues relating to them are often specific to each case, which makes an objective analysis difficult and subject to caveats.

The new professional statement focuses on reporting and process requirements, more explicit detail on development viability in planning and providing greater clarity on reporting will be dealt with in the forthcoming second edition of the RICS guidance note Financial viability in planning.

If you have any questions about the articles that we share with you or require information about our services, contact us today.

Share this on:


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.


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.


Share this on:


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 planningpolicy@communities.gov.uk 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.


Share this on:


Welcome to the team Dean!



We have a new member of the Urbanissta team who we would like to introduce.

Dean joined Urbanissta as an Associate in January 2019 following 14 years working in a Local Planning Authority.  He has extensive experience of dealing with a wide range of large scale planning projects both commercial and residential. Dean who has been a member of the RTPI since 2009 is based in our Birmingham office. Dean has a particular passion for planning law and enjoys the challenges associated with its practical application.

Outside of work Dean likes to keep active and loves the great outdoors and can be found hiking various mountains or teaching martial arts. Dean also enjoys ‘big band’ music and has on occasion performed some crooning classics.

Dean joined the private sector as he needed a fresh challenge and he chose Urbanissta because he was impressed by our approach. His goal is to gain a broad range of experience of the planning profession from a commercial standpoint.

Welcome to the team Dean.




Share this on:


The Chancellor’s Spring Statement and Brokenshire’s Ministerial Statement 2019


The Chancellor’s Spring Statement and Brokenshire’s Ministerial Statement 2019

On the 13th of March 2019 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, presented the Spring Statement and the Communities Secretary James Brokenshire presented the Ministerial Statement.

In this article, we have focused on the relevant aspects of the documents that relate to housing and development.

The Spring Statement

Philip Hammond said the Government is determined to ‘fix the broken housing market’ with a new £3bn scheme aiming to build 300,000 new homes by the end of this Parliament.

During this time of Brexit uncertainty, it’s difficult to believe that anything could go to plan or be fixed but the Chancellor said his pledges would put the UK on track to raise housing supply to its highest level since 1970.

“Building more homes in the right places is critical to unlocking productivity growth and makes housing more affordable.” Hammond told Parliament.

The progress on planning reform…

Hammond announced further progress on planning reform, as set out in more detail in the accompanying written Ministerial Statement by MHCLG’s Secretary of State.

  • £717 million would come from the £5.5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock “up to” 37,000 homes at sites including Old Oak Common in London, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and Cheshire
  • Through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme (extension of an existing scheme), the Government would guarantee up to £3 billion of borrowing by housing associations in England to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes
  • A £1bn fund to encourage SME housebuilders announced at the Autumn Budget

The Future Homes Standard

A ‘Future Homes Standard’ would be introduced by 2025, future proofing new build homes with low carbon heating, eliminating fossil fuel sources and achieving world-level leading levels of energy efficiency.

The new standard would build on the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge mission to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030.

The Government are to take 5 steps in the coming months:

1.   Produce an independent report on build-out rates. There will be an introduction to additional planning guidance to support housing diversification on large sites. Sir Oliver Letwin concluded that greater differentiation in the types and tenures of housing delivered on large sites would increase build-out rates.
2.   Respond to the consultation on planning reform. There will be an introduction of a package of reforms including allowing greater change of use between premises, and a new permitted development right to allow upwards extension of existing buildings to create new homes.
3.   Accelerate the ‘Planning Green Paper’. This would be done by publishing a Green Paper setting out proposals on how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements could accelerate the end-to-end planning process.
4.   Consult on the consultation on the changes announced at Budget 2018. The changes to lettings relief and the final period exemption, which extends private residence relief in capital gains tax.
5. Consult on Planning for Future High Streets. Look at the options for potential changes to help local areas make better use of planning tools to support their local high streets, including through ‘Compulsory Purchase Orders’, ‘Local Development Orders’, and other innovative planning measures.

Read the full Spring Statement here.

Brokenshire’s Ministerial Statement

The Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP has hailed millions of pounds in extra funding and new planning measures to build homes, rejuvenate high streets, create jobs and deliver economic growth.
Brokenshire told Parliament, “We’re pulling all the levers available to build homes and opportunities in our communities. These new measures and funding mark our continued commitment to ensuring the housing market works for everyone and economic growth is shared across the country.”


There is to be an independent report on build-out rates and permitted development.

In his Ministerial Statement, Brokenshire said the Letwin Review found no evidence that speculative land banking was part of the business model for major house builders and a consensus has emerged that it is the market absorption rate that determines the rate at which developers build out large sites.

As confirmed in the Spring Statement, Brokenshire’s department will shortly publish additional planning guidance on housing diversification – to further encourage large sites to support a diverse range of housing needs and help them build out more quickly.

Brokenshire agreed with the principle that the costs of increased housing diversification should be funded through reductions in residual land values.

The Government was committed to improving the effectiveness of the existing mechanisms of land value capture, making them more certain and transparent for all developments; his focus was on evolving the existing system of developer contributions to make them more transparent, efficient and accountable and his department is gathering evidence to explore the case for further reform.

Brokenshire would keep the need for further interventions to support housing diversification and faster build-out, including amendments to primary legislation, (under review).

Accelerated Planning Green Paper

The priority was to ensure faster decision-making within the planning system. His department would publish an ‘Accelerated Planning Green Paper’ later this year that would discuss how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements could accelerate the end-to-end planning process.

It would also draw on the Rosewell Review, which made recommendations to reduce the time taken to conclude planning appeal inquiries, whilst maintaining the quality of decisions. Brokenshire would consider the case for further reforms to the compulsory purchase regime, in line with the manifesto commitment.
Read our article on The Rosewell Review here.

The Rosewell review of planning

Permitted Development Rights

MHCLG would amend the shops use class to ensure it captured current and future retail models, which will include clarification on the ability of (A) use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area, to introduce a new permitted development right to allow shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, payday loan shop and launderettes to change use to an office (B1) and to allow hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3).

Additionally, to give businesses sufficient time to test the market with innovative business ideas it would extend the existing right that allows the temporary change of use of buildings from 2 to 3 years and enable more community uses to take advantage of this temporary right. This will enable such premises to more easily locate on the high street and would shortly publish “Better Planning for High Streets” with tools to support local planning authorities in reshaping their high streets. With the intention to create prosperous communities, particularly through the use of compulsory purchase, local development orders and other innovative tools.

MHCLG would take forward a permitted development right to extend upwards certain existing buildings in commercial and residential use to deliver additional homes, engaging with interested parties on design and technical details. It would want any right to deliver new homes to respect the design of the existing streetscape while ensuring that the amenity of neighbours was considered. It would also make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single-storey rear extensions to dwelling houses and to introduce a proportionate fee. Brokenshire would extend the time-limited right for a change of use from storage to residential. This right will lapse on 10 June.

Alongside this, he would review permitted development rights for conversion of buildings to residential use in respect of the quality standard of homes delivered. MHCLG would continue to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes. It would also develop a ‘Future Homes Standard’ for all new homes through consultation in 2019 with a view, subject to consultation, to introducing the standard by 2025.

It would grant a general listed building consent for works to listed waterway structures owned, controlled or managed by the Canal & River Trust.

He intended to implement an immediate package of permitted development right measures in the spring, with the more complex matters, including on upward extensions, covered in a further package of regulations in the autumn.

Oxford Cambridge Arc – Update

On 13th March MHCLG also published an update on the Government’s ‘overarching ambition’ for the Arc, including a joint declaration between Government and local partners, signalling the importance of collaboration to achieve these aims.

The document also provides an early update on the Government’s work to develop a robust economic evidence base for the Arc.

The Government intend to:

  • Appoint an independent Business Chair for the Arc shortly to provide expert advice; they would lead an Advisory Group, to be set up by late Spring
  • Launch a broad, joint, public engagement exercise over the summer
  • Support additional stakeholder engagement, utilising the breadth and depth of our networks of leaders and local partners, as well as Government departments and their agencies, to drive conversations and engagement with groups, communities and businesses across the Arc
  • Begin consulting on the route options for the Expressway this autumn with a decision on detailed development of the preferred route to be undertaken in early 2020,
  • Complete the analysis into new or expanded settlements and consider where economic and housing growth, including through locally-led plans, could maximise the benefits of new road and rail infrastructure
  • Consider how the design of new settlements could support the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges through the demonstration and deployment of new technologies
  • Complete underway assessments on Garden Communities bids, and announce successful proposals in the spring
  • Work with  the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission to gather evidence on design and quality place-making to identify opportunities to promote improved design quality and greater community consent (the Commission would publish an interim research report by July)
  • Work with local authorities to consider what planning approaches and flexibilities might be appropriate to better support planning an increased housing supply over the long term

Read the full Ministerial Statement here.

Further reading…

Read the Government UK Economy document here.

Contact us for more information about our services.

Share this on:


The Agricultural PD rights


Earlier in the year, we did an article on agricultural PD rights after the former housing minister, Dominic Raab announced changes to Permitted Development Rights which enabled flexibility for rural sites to be converted from three to up to five family homes (Class Use C3) to better meet local housing need without the need to apply for Planning Permission. Read the article.

To summarise, amendments to the General Permitted Development Order (GDPO) were approved by Parliament on 12th March 2018 and have come into force on the 6th April 2018.

The amendments

Allow buildings which currently are/were in ‘active agricultural use’ on or before 20th March 2013 to be redeveloped for up to 5 dwellings.

This will allow for the following:

Up to 3 larger homes within a maximum of 465 sq. m. (5005.2sqf)
Up to 5 smaller homes, each no larger than 100 sq. m. (1076.4sqf)
Combination of both above options – no more than 5 homes (no more than 3 being larger homes).
We recently worked on a project in Braintree for the change of use of three agricultural dwellings to 5 residential dwellinghouses. We came across a few stumbling blocks which were not otherwise clear when we set out to apply for permitted development. We set the things you need to check and consider before applying for prior notification.

Firstly, check whether you are within a designated area.


Permitted development rights are generally more restricted in the following designated areas:

Conservation Area
National Park
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or The Norfolk or Suffolk Broads
Permitted Development Rights are subject to obtaining approval from the LPA first. This means that you must notify the relevant LPA and submit a prior approval application before starting any work. If the council do not issue a decision within the time frame of 56 days, then development can begin.


When the Council consider the application, they will assess the proposals against the Class Q criteria. The first criteria relate to what the development consists of permitted development.

Development consisting of:

(a) a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from use as an agricultural building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order; or

(b) development referred to in paragraph (a) together with building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building referred to in paragraph (a) to a use falling within Class C3(dwellinghouses) of that Schedule”.

The following criteria will need to be met before a development can be considered as permitted development:

(a) the Site was solely in agricultural use on the 20th March 2013
(b) the cumulative floor space changing use falls below the 465 sqm threshold
(c) no other Class Q conversions have taken place on the Site. The cumulative total is 5 smaller dwellings each below 100sqm, below the threshold of 5 dwellings permitted
(d) the site is not occupied under an agricultural tenancy
(e) an agricultural tenancy has not recently been terminated
(f) no agricultural building works under the GPDO Schedule 2 Part 6 Class A have taken place since 20th March 2013
(g) no extensions are proposed
(h) the cumulative total of floor space changing use will be below 1000 sqm
(i) no building works beyond those permitted in subparagraph (i) are proposed
(j) the site is not on Article 2(3) land
(k) the site is not in one of the defined special areas
(l) the site does not contain a Scheduled Ancient Monument
(m) and the buildings are not listed

It is understood that Class Q development is permitted subject to the condition that the developer shall apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the local planning authority is required for one or more of six distinct considerations:

(a) transport and highway impacts
(b) noise impacts
(c) contamination risks on the site
(d) flooding risks on the site
(e) whether the location or sitting makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the use to change to Class C3
(f) the design or external appearance of the building
Please note that once the new PD rights have been exercised, there will be no opportunity to construct to extend an agricultural building for a period of 10 years.

The explanatory memorandum can be read here:


The amendments to the Legislation can be read here:


Contact us today if you have questions about the content in this article or you need any other information.

Share this on: