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James introduces emergency permitted development rights to help NHS

Words: Laura Edgar
NHS / Shutterstock_1456143602

Welsh housing minister Julie James has introduced emergency temporary permitted development rights to allow local authorities to change the use of buildings without planning permission during the coronavirus (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 move is in support of the NHS and the intent is to increase hospital capacity across the country.

Currently, planning permission is required for such a change of use.

The Crown already enjoys these permitted development rights on its estate.

James explained: “Local authorities in Wales are doing an excellent job of responding to rapidly changing situations and it is vital that we allow them to meet their wide-ranging responsibilities quickly.

“Relaxing the usual planning requirements allows local authorities to take swift action to respond to local need.

“It is of course only right they plan for the emergency, but by staying home we can help to avoid these plans becoming a reality.”

Under these changes, any temporary structures must be removed and the land restored to its previous condition (or to an agreed condition) within 12 months of the development starting. Planning permission would need to be sought so that the use could continue.

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