2nd August 2023

Rural permitted development rights set for expansion

Thrings rural permitted development rights planning

 Homeowners and rural landowners are set to find it easier to build “upwards and outwards” according to a recent government announcement that permitted development (PD) rights will be extended.

In a statement from the Department for Levelling-up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), it was announced that a review into the extension of PD rights is set to take place, aiming to provide new freedoms to homeowners in extending their homes and converting existing properties into new accommodation whilst protecting the interests of neighbours. This would come as part of the government’s long-term housing plan which seeks to build one million new homes over the course of the current parliament.

A further announcement from DLUHC confirmed that a consultation would take place on PD rights on how to better support existing homeowners as well as to “provide more certainty over some types of development” which will also attempt to both protect local character and provide greater confidence to developers through a review of design codes.

Amongst the changes being proposed in the consultation are plans for new and amended PD rights that the government claims will make it easier to convert large commercial spaces such as department stores and office space for residential use.

It is also being suggested that PD rights in conservation areas (Class MA) could be broadened to enable its use in other forms of article 2(3) land – including the likes of areas of outstanding natural beauty and World Heritage Sites.

The right currently helps town centres and high streets to be more agile in their levels of residential, commercial and leisure provision to meet the required needs of the community, with the government claiming its expansion would simplify the process in allowing areas to benefit from the additional housing delivery and high street diversification that the permitted development right can bring.

Rural communities could also be impacted by the proposals, including through a potential expansion of the existing PD right to convert agricultural buildings to residential (Class Q) and flexible commercial use (Class R).

The number of residential conversions under Class Q would be doubled under the proposals from the current five homes to ten. This would be supported by an increase of the maximum permissible total floorspace for a development from 865sqm to 1,000sqm.

Meanwhile Class R, which presently includes flexible use as storage, distribution and hotels as well as commercial uses for the likes of shops and offices, could see its remit extended under the proposals or extend the remit of the right. Alternatively, it has been proposed that new PD rights, similar to those currently in place, could be created to help support rural diversification.

Thrings’ Planning and Environment lawyers have extensive experience in navigating complex local and national planning policy legislation and has successfully supported commercial and residential applications through the approval and appeal processes. To find out more and for advice on your development proposals, including how to address enforcement notices, please do get in touch.

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