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Permitted development rights for creation of medical facilities comes into effect
Emergency legislation that allows councils and health providers in England to establish facilities to support the fight against the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak came into force today (9 April).
The temporary permitted development right will come to an end on 31 December 2020.
Explanatory notes issued alongside The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Coronavirus) (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 states that the right allows “local authorities and health service bodies to carry out development, both works and change of use, of facilities required in undertaking their roles to respond to the spread of coronavirus, without a requirement to submit a planning application”.
Buildings that could be changed include conference facilities, such as London’s ExCel, which has already been transformed into NHS Nightingale, and university buildings. Buildings can be temporarily erected on land that is owned or leased by health service bodies or local authorities, or on their behalf to “provide health facilities such as temporary hospitals, coroner facilities, mortuaries and testing units”.
The explanatory note says that the order also “allows the change of use of existing buildings and land, the erection of temporary buildings or structures for associated storage facilities, distribution centres for food and other commodities, and the provision of plant, machinery and hard surfaces for parking and storage”.
Under the right, existing buildings such as hotels can be used to provide temporary accommodation for staff and volunteers in the health sector, as well as those who may be homeless.
Work can be undertaken across England, including in conservation areas, national parks, the Broads and to a listed building. However, it “does not remove the need for listed building consent should that be considered necessary”.
The explanatory notes states that “for the avoidance of doubt, after the relevant period, premises or land would revert to its original use”. Should the facilities be required beyond the end of this year, a planning application would need to be submitted.
As well as local authorities, the order covers a number of health bodies, including NHS trusts, the National Health Service Commissioning Board, the Health Research Authority and the Human Tissue Authority.
Last week, The Planner reported that Welsh housing minister Julie James had introduced emergency temporary permitted development rights to allow local authorities to change the use of buildings without planning permission during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Welsh Government wants local authorities to be able to use leisure centres as temporary hospitals if needed, “to prevent or control an emergency”.
The amendment and explanatory note can be found here.
Update on PD Allowances
Last October, the MHCLG published a consultation on a series of proposed new measures, called Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes.
The chancellor’s Spring Statement confirmed that the government would introduce a “package of reforms including allowing greater change of use between premises”.
In a written ministerial statement published after the Spring Statement, Brokenshire said the government would:
- take forward a PD 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”. He said the new right would have to deliver homes that “respect the design of the existing streetscape, while ensuring that the amenity of neighbours is considered”.
- introduce a new PD right allowing shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, pay day loan shop and launderettes to change use to an office (B1) and to allow hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3).
- clarify the ability of A-class uses to “diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area”.
- extend the existing right that allows the temporary change of use of buildings from two to three years and enable more community uses to take advantage of this temporary right, “enabling such premises to more easily locate on the high street”.
- make permanent the temporary PD right to build larger single-storey rear extensions to homes and “to introduce a proportionate fee”.
But he said the government would “review” existing PD rights for the conversion of buildings to residential use in “respect of the quality standard of homes delivered”.
The government would also “continue to consider the design” of a proposed PD right allowing commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes, Brokenshire added. The right was announced last October alongside the other new PD rights.
And he said he would not extend the temporary right for change of use from storage to residential, which will lapse on 10 June 2019.
He further confirmed that the government would scrap the controversial PD right “and associated advertising deemed consent” for new telephone kiosks
Brokenshire said he intended to implement the PD right measures “in the spring”, with “the more complex matters, including on upward extensions, covered in a further package of regulations in the autumn”.
We have now seen the further update to this from Robert Jenrick MP suggesting that these new allowances (in a subtely different form) will be brought forward in the Summer of 2020. You can read his announcement here.
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