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Planning reform

The Prime Minister has recently announced radical reforms to the planning system. The catchphrase is, of course, 3 words: Build, Build, Build. Full details are yet to be published and, as ever, the Devil will be in the detail.

Broadly speaking, the aim is to make it 'easier to build better homes, where people want to live'. New regulations and reforms are expected in the following areas:

  • Reform of the Use Class Order to allow for greater flexibility for changes of use. Many changes of use are already possible without planning permission under Permitted Development, but these are expected to increase.

  • The types of commercial buildings that will be allowed to be converted to residential use (C3) are likely to be widened. Currently offices, casinos and light industrial units may be converted under the provisions of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) 2015 (as amended).

  • Normal planning permission may no longer be required for the demolition of vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if rebuilt to provide homes.

  • Extension above properties may become possible under some form of Prior Approval.

The key objective is to make it easier to develop brownfield land and to boost housing delivery.

In addition, the government have announced an intention to comprehensively reform the planning system as a whole and will launch a planning Policy Paper this month.

Watch this space!

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