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15th July 2020

New Permitted Development Rights for Upward Extensions Introduced

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From 1 August, the Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 will permit the construction of up to two additional storeys of new dwellinghouses above purpose built, detached blocks of flats without the need for planning permission. The new permitted development rights will extend to all engineering operations reasonably necessary to construct the additional storeys and new dwellings, all works for the replacement of existing or additional plant, works for the appropriate and safe access and egress to the new and existing dwellings and works for the construction of storage, waste or other ancillary facilities.

There are, however, various restrictions on the new rights, including that the building must be more than 3 storeys in height and must have been constructed between 1st July 1948 and 5th March 2018. The new dwellings must be constructed on the principal part of the building and must be flats. The upward extension cannot be any more than 7 metres and the extended building cannot be greater than 30 metres in height in total. The building cannot be listed or be a scheduled monument, be located in a conservation area, AONB or National Park, on a site of special scientific interest, a safety hazard area, a military explosives storage area or within 3 kilometres of an aerodrome.

The permitted development rights will require prior approval from the local planning authority which must consider the highways and air traffic impacts of the proposed development, contamination and flooding risks, the external appearance of the building, the provision of adequate natural light in the new dwellings, the impact on the amenity of existing and neighbouring premises and any impact on a protected view. The application for prior approval must be accompanied by various information, including floor plans showing the dimensions and proposed use of each room as well as the position and dimensions of windows, doors and walls.

Where prior approval is granted for an upward extension, it must be completed within 3 years of the grant of prior approval and a construction management plan is required prior to commencement of the development.

Whilst the introduction of these new permitted development rights is positive from the perspective of developers and for the delivery of new homes, the numerous restrictions and the range of factors that must be considered as part of the prior approval process may restrict the use of the provisions in practice. However, the Government has announced that we can expect more permitted development rights to be introduced as part of a wider package of reforms designed to get the county building again post Covid-19.

For more information about these changes or advice on anything raised above, please click here to email Gemma Dudley or click here to learn more about our Planning team.