Class A – New Dwellinghouses on detached blocks of flats
This allowance is effected by the changes to the Use Classes Order and it is anticipated that this allowance will be tidied up in August of 2021 in line with the current government consultations. Reference to the Use Classes should be taken from the pre-2020 Use Classes Order.
What is allowed
Development consisting of works for the construction of up to two additional storeys of new dwellinghouses immediately above the existing topmost residential storey on a building which is a purpose-built, detached block of flats, together with any or all
- engineering operations reasonably necessary to construct the additional storeys and new dwellinghouses;
- works for the replacement of existing plant or installation of additional plant on the roof of the extended building reasonably necessary to service the new dwellinghouses;
- works for the construction of appropriate and safe access and egress to access to and egress from the new and existing dwellinghouses, including means of escape from fire, via additional external doors or external staircases;
- works for the construction of storage, waste or other ancillary facilities reasonably necessary to support the new dwellinghouses.
Where can I use it
On existing purpose built detached blocks of flats and subject to the following restrictions.
What is not allowed
Development is not permitted by Class A if—
- the permission to use any building as a dwellinghouse has been granted only by virtue of Class M, MA, N, O, P, PA or Q of Part 3 of this Schedule;
- above ground level, the building is less than 3 storeys in height;
- the building was constructed before 1st July 1948, or after 5th March 2018;
- the additional storeys are constructed other than on the principal part of the building; (e) the floor to ceiling height of any additional storey is—
- more than 3 metres in height; or
- more than the floor to ceiling height of any of the existing storeys, whichever is the lesser, where such heights are measured internally;
- the floor to ceiling height of any additional storey, measured internally, would exceed the lower of—
- 3 metres; or
- the floor to ceiling height, measured internally, of any storey of the principal part of the existing building;
- the new dwellinghouses are not flats;
- the overall height of the roof of the extended building would be greater than 7 metres higher than the highest part of the existing roof (not including existing plant);
- the height of the highest part of the roof of the extended building would exceed the height of the highest part of the roof of the existing building by more than 7 metres (not including plant, in each case);
- the extended building (not including plant) would be greater than 30 metres in height;
- the height of the highest part of the roof of the extended building (not including plant) would be greater than 30 metres;
- development under Class A would include the provision of visible support structures on or attached to the exterior of the building upon completion of the development;
- development under Class A would consist of engineering operations other than works within the existing curtilage of the building to—
- strengthen existing walls;
- strengthen existing foundations; or
- install or replace water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services;
- in the case of Class A development there is no existing plant on the building;
- in the case of Class A development the height of any replaced or additional plant as measured from the lowest surface of the new roof on the principal part of the new building extended building would exceed the height of any existing plant as measured from the lowest surface of the existing roof on the principal part of the existing building;
- development under Class A would extend beyond the curtilage of the existing building;
- development under Class A would—
- extend beyond the curtilage of the existing building;
- be situated on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation of the existing building; or
- be situated on land forward of a wall fronting a highway and forming a side elevation of the existing building;
- the land or site on which the building is located, is or forms part of article 2(3) land;
- a site of special scientific interest;
- a listed building or land within its curtilage;
- a scheduled monument or land within its curtilage; (v) a safety hazard area;
- a military explosives storage area; or
- land within 3 kilometres of the perimeter of an aerodrome.
How do I use the allowance
This is a complex prior a approval permitted development allowance that should not be attempted without the support of a planning consultant and as such it is subject to an assessment of the following criteria:
- transport and highways impacts of the development;
- air traffic and defence asset impacts of the development;
- contamination risks in relation to the building;
- flooding risks in relation to the building;
- the external appearance of the building;
- the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the new dwellinghouses
- impact on the amenity of the existing building and neighbouring premises including overlooking, privacy and the loss of light; and
- whether because of the siting of the building, the development will impact on a protected view identified in the Directions Relating to Protected Vistas dated 15 March 2012 issued by the Secretary of State, and
- where the existing building is 18 metres or more in height, the fire safety of the external wall construction of the existing building,
- compliance with the National Standards from 6th April 2021
Early Class A applications have been universally refused (based on research carried out by Planner Magazine). It remains to be seen how effective Class A is in reality and at the time of writing it is untested at appeal.
The assessment of the “impact on the amenity of any adjoining premises” is not limited to the impact on “overlooking, privacy and the loss of light”. For example, it can include the impact on other aspects of amenity such as “outlook, noise and activity”.
The assessment of the “impact on the amenity of any adjoining premises” is not limited to the impact on properties that “abut, or are contiguous with, the subject property”. For example, it can include the impact on other properties that are “neighbouring premises” (note: these do not have to be “residential premises”).
The assessment of the “external appearance of the dwellinghouse” is not limited to “the design and architectural features of (aa) the principal elevation of the dwellinghouse, and (bb) any side elevation of the dwellinghouse that fronts a highway”. For example, it can include the external appearance of other elevations such as a side elevation that doesn’t front a highway or a rear elevation (note: these do not have to be “public facing elevations”).
The assessment of the “external appearance of the dwellinghouse” is not limited to the impact of that appearance on the “subject property itself”. For example, it can include the impact of that appearance on “neighbouring premises and the locality”.