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Brokenshire outlines permitted development plans

Words: Laura Edgar
James Brokenshire / Ministry of Housing

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has outlined plans to extend permitted development on the high street, and to review conversions to residential use amid quality concerns.

In a written ministerial statement, published yesterday after the Spring Statement, Brokenshire confirmed the reforms initially announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

In order to support the high street, the statement says, several “additional flexibilities” will be introduced for business. In particular, shop use classes will be amended to ensure they “capture current and future retail models”. This includes:

  • clarification on the ability of (A) use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area;
  • introduction of a new permitted development right to allow 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).

According to the statement, the temporary change of use to a building will be extended from two to three years so that more community uses can take advantage of the temporary right.  

Like the chancellor, Brokenshire says in the statement that the permitted development right for upwards extensions on buildings will go ahead, but the existing streetscape must be respected. “We would want any right to deliver new homes to respect the design of the existing streetscape, while ensuring that the amenity of neighbours is considered. We will also make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single storey rear extensions to dwelling houses and to introduce a proportionate fee.”

Additionally, the housing secretary intends to review permitted development rights for the conversion of buildings to residential use in respect of the quality standard of homes delivered. "We will continue to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes," he says.

Permitted development rights for new telephone kiosks will be removed; the right to install off-street electric vehicle charging points to allow for taller charging upstands to address advances in rapid charging technology will be amended; and a draft listed building consent order to grant a general listed building consent for works to listed waterway structures owned, controlled or managed by the Canal & River Trust will be brought forward.

An immediate package of permitted development right measures will be implemented in the spring, Brokenshire concludes, with the more complex matters, including on upward extensions, covered in a further package of regulations in the autumn.

The full ministerial statement, which also includes an update on Sir Oliver Letwin’s review and housing diversification, can be found here on the UK Parliament website.

Read more:

Spring Statement 2019: £3bn for affordable housing scheme, Borderland Growth Deal cash

Spring Statement 2019: Reaction

Image credit | Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government