Planning and Development – new measures and changes

planning surveyCommunities secretary Eric Pickles has outlined a series of planning measures in a written ministerial statement, including further permitted development changes.

The full statement runs to some length but here is an extract from the ‘At a Glance Guide’ provided by Planning Resource.

Permitted development:  Mr Pickles has outlined a series of changes to permitted development rights, including new rules allowing the conversion of premises used for storage or distribution to homes without a planning application, which are contained a new General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) laid before Parliament.

Office-to-residential: The government will “further consider the case for extending the office to residential reforms, which are helping provided more new homes on brownfield land”.

solar panels on farm landSolar:
The written statement sets a high bar for solar farms on farmland, citing “continuing concerns … about the unjustified use of high quality agricultural land“. It adds: “In light of these concerns we want it to be clear that any proposal for a solar farm involving the best and most versatile agricultural land would need to be justified by the most compelling evidence.” A new permitted development right allowing larger capacity solar panels on non-domestic buildings has also been announced.

Unauthorised development:
The government “will be seeking to introduce a new evidence-based planning and recovery policy for the green belt early in the next Parliament to strengthen protection against unauthorised development“.  Further,  the government is publishing an updated guide for councils and police on unauthorised encampments and the powers that public bodies have.

Parking: The government is amending national planning policy to further support the provision of car parking spaces. It says that the following text now needs to be read alongside the National Planning Policy Framework: “Local planning authorities should only impose local parking standards for residential and non-residential development where there is clear and compelling justification that it is necessary to manage their local road network.

A newly consolidated Development Management Procedure Order: A new DMPO comes into force on 15 April, enforcing new measures including changes to the process of statutory consultation and the introduction of a new “deemed discharge” of conditions.

Section 106: The government has published its response to a consultation on speeding up section 106 agreements and the written statement says that revised guidance will be published alongside this.

Vacant Building Credit: Guidance will be published “to assist in the delivery” of the vacant building credit.

Zero carbon homes: The  government has decided that small housing sites of 10 units or fewer will be exempted from the zero carbon homes standard.

Housing standards: The written ministerial statement sets out the government’s new national planning policy on the setting of technical standards for new dwellings. It says that the statement “should be taken into account in applying the National Planning Policy Framework, and in particular the policies on local standards or requirements at paragraphs 95, 174, and 177, in both plan making and decision-taking”.


The full ministerial statement can be viewed here.