Following the latest impact on the market by the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government are introducing new legislation from 31st August and 1st September in a bid to provide more flexibility to the property sector, and most importantly the high street.

Permitted Development Rights

The new legislation takes effect from 31st August and introduces new permitted development rights which allows for additional storeys to be built above certain buildings and for the redevelopment of buildings for new homes.

Additional storeys above buildings

This new permitted development right will allow up to two additional storeys to be built above certain residential and commercial buildings. The additional storeys must only be used for residential purposes.

Anyone wishing to carry out the new permitted development will be required to have obtained “prior approval” from the local planning authority. The rights do not apply to certain buildings, such as buildings within conservation areas, buildings constructed before 1 July 1948 or after 28 October 2018 and buildings which have already been enlarged by the addition of at least one storey. The rights are subject to further restrictions in relation to the construction of the storeys and, if the building is listed, listed building consent may still be required.

Redevelopment of buildings

The change introduces a new Class ZA which permits certain vacant buildings which existed on 12 March 2020 to be demolished and replaced by a new residential building. Again, prior approval will need to be obtained from the local planning authority and the right is subject to numerous restrictions, including (but not limited to):

  • The building must have been vacant for at least 6 months.
  • The right will not apply to listed buildings or buildings within a conservation area.
  • The building must have fallen within use classes B1 (offices, research developmentor industrial processes) or C3 (detached block of flats).
  • The existing building must have been constructed after 31 December 1989 and the highest part of the roof must not exceed 18m above ground level.
  • No more than 2 storeys can be added to the number of storeys in the old building and the footprint of the new building must be within the footprint of the old building.

Use Class Changes

From 1 September the Government are introducing a new Use Class E (commercial, business and service). The new class incorporates the following use classes into one class:

  • Class A – retail, food and drink uses
  • Class B1 – business uses
  • Classes D1 and D2 – certain non-residential institutions and leisure uses

Some food and drink uses, such as public houses and hot takeaways will become a “sui generis” use, meaning that specific planning consent will be needed for change of use to such uses.

Contact us

For more information or to make an enquiry, please contact our Commercial Property team by emailing or calling 01484 821 500. Alternatively you can fill out an online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch.