31 December 2020

Planning round up for 2020 and update for the New Year.


There have been a number of changes to planning legislation during 2020, particularly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As we now enter 2021 there are further changes in the pipeline. Here is a summary of key changes in 2020 and some other new changes that will be happening over the next six months:

The planning procedure:


In July 2020 changes were introduced to the planning to help businesses adapt to new ways of working as a result of Covid-19. This involved:


  • Streamlining the application process for pavement licenses for outdoor seating.
  • Making provision for Council's to hold remote meetings.
  • Time extensions to unimplemented planning permission whereby any application expiring between 23rd March 2020 and 31st December 2020 would be extended to 1st May 2021


A new Government White Paper was also published in the autumn, we are expecting the results of the consultation in the next few months.


Permitted Development Rights:


There was also the relaxation of Permitted Development Rights (PDR) to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as hot food takeaways and new permitted development rights to allow:


  • Two storey upward extensions to existing purpose-built residential flats. This comprises of Class AA which permits construction of up to two storeys of flats above detached buildings in commercial or mixed use. Class AB which permits the construction of new flats on top of terraced buildings in commercial or mixed use. Class AC which permit the construction of new flats on top of terrace or semi-detached dwellinghouses, and Class AD which permits the construction of new flats on top of detached dwellinghouses.
  • The demolition of certain buildings (offices, R&D, light industrial or purpose building residential blocks) which have been vacant for six months and their replacement with housing.


New use classes:


A new Use Class Order was introduced which included new use Classes E, F.1, F.2. The transitional period for the new use classes means that until 31st July 2021 changes of use PDR will continue to be applied, however PDRs will be introduced on 1 August 2021.


Other changes ahead:


The Government launched consultation on revised PDR, the main points of the consultation include:

  • A new PDR to allow change of use Class E (commercial, business and service) to C3 residential.
  • Faster decisions on applications for planning permission that statutory period will be reduced from 13 weeks to 10 weeks.
  • Existing PDRs will be consolidated and simplified.


This consultation period closes on 28th January 2021.