A consultation has been launched by the government on a set of planning reforms focused on housebuilding and retail which envisage the expansion of Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) and an associated shake up of the use class system.
Choice picks include:
A new PDR allowing the building of additional new homes above certain existing buildings in high streets and town centres.
A new PDR for the high quality redevelopment of commercial sites, including demolition and replacement build as residential, retaining existing developer contributions.
The making permanent of the currently time limited PDR to convert buildings used for storage/distribution to residential and the PDR to build larger home extensions.
A new PDR to allow a change of use from A1 (shops and retail), A2 (professional services) and A5 (hot food takeaway) to B1 (offices) and A5 (takeaway) to C3 (residential).
Whether the A1 use class should remove the current named uses and allow for a broader definition of uses for the sale, display or service to visiting members of the public or whether use classes A1, A2 and A3 should be merged to encompass a single use class.
Unsurprisingly, the government envisages that “prior approval” will be required for those new PDRs involving residential development. Assuming the new PDRs are prescribed into law, developers will be interested in seeing what such approval process will involve, to what extent it will vary from region to region and whether the changes in practice will result in a greater number of developments being delivered more quickly and cost effectively.
Some of the government’s initial thoughts on such matters are set out in the consultation and feedback on a wide range of questions is invited.
The consultation closes on 14 January 2019 and can be viewed here.