Planning News Roundup – May 2021

There were some big updates in planning this May. In case you missed it here’s your monthly planning news roundup:

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  • Queen’s Speech set to shake up the planning system

Biggest planning news of the month! The Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2021 introduced the Government’s plans to shake up planning. There will be a new planning bill and a host of other bills that affect the planning system.

Changes include having local plans have “more certainty” over permissible development, plans to “simplify” European environmental legislation, digitising the planning system, and more. 

A radical overhaul to the planning system is afoot if this goes through.

 

  • Permitted development rights (PDR) being removed from some assembly and leisure use buildings

A government consultation has proposed to remove permitted development rights from former D2 use buildings such as cinemas, community halls and swimming pools. These had new PD rights with the new use class E and F2. 

On the other hand, it’ll be easier to convert buildings like casinos, pawn shops, and hot food takeaways to use class E.

The government is making clear that PDR will be changed if they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do, or are creating a loss of a certain type of use.

 

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  • City of London approves Article 4 exemptions for use Class E to resi

The City of London Corporation are going to put in place new Article 4 directions to restrict the new use-class-E-to-resi PDR for the next year, meaning they’ll retain local planning control over their commercial units.  

The report by the Corporation’s planning and transportation committee highlighted the risk of office space loss for SMEs and start-ups, and the risk of creating a “poor residential environment”.

The City don’t want to lose their valuable office space to residential, and it’s possible other local authorities may follow suit.

 

  • High-rise fire safety stage to be added to the planning process

The government is going to introduce fire safety policies into the planning system for the first time. Buildings that are 18 metres or more in height, or seven or more storeys, will have to go through a new planning stage focussed on fire precautions. 

This used to be covered by building regulations, but this is the first step towards the government’s plans to create a new building safety regime in England. 

The government says this is its first step in its “commitment to transforming the regulatory framework for fire safety in response to the Grenfell Tower fire”. We pulled the data on the progress of removing Aluminium Cladding Material (ACM) cladding from high-rise buildings. 

The work continues.

 

  • Government considering levy on developers to encourage building on land with planning permission

Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, has written that ministers are contemplating a levy on developers who fail to build on land with planning permission within a certain time frame. 

This will be to discourage land-banking and an end to what he calls “the big building firms’ monopoly”

 

 

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Grace is the Head of LandEnhance, where she leads the charge in making life easier for planners. And having been a town planner herself for many years, it's something she cares deeply about – after all, she's now making the kind of tech she could only dream of before.