Stuart Tym Shares His Thougts On The Business & Planning Bill

Stuart Tym, Planning Lawyer (Senior Associate Solicitor) at Irwin Mitchell LLP took the time to share his thoughts with Today’s Conveyancer regarding the speech made by the Prime Minister on 30 June 2020.

In the last week the government has introduced the Business & Planning Bill and ‘Project Speed’ and made further changes to PD Rights.  All in aid of getting the country building again.

The Business & Planning Bill – includes a fast track application for varying construction hours and extends the life of planning permissions expiring this year; particularly relevant for those dealing with the sale of development land and new build properties.

  • Fast Track Process for Varying Construction Hours – s.74A to 74D of the Planning Act (1990), allows most developers to use a special ‘fast track’ application to vary conditions on planning consents that impose construction hour limits or construction management plans. The new route is not available to ‘house-holder’ consents i.e. residential extensions or granny annexes.  If the Council do not respond within 14 days it is approved by default.

Could this, with lighter summer’s evenings see faster completions?  What about those moving in and experiencing disturbance later into the evening?

  • Extending the life of planning permissions – 93A to 93F of the Planning Act (1990) applies to permissions due to expire between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020. For those checking the validity of a planning permission in the conveyancing process this will add extra complexity.  If your planning permission is still ‘alive’ when the law comes into force, its duration will extend to 1 April 2020.  If your consent expired between 23 March 2020 and the date on which the law comes into effect, an application will have to be made (‘environmental approval’) which is approved by default if not refused within 28 days.

New Permitted Development Rights – come into effect on 1 August 2020 and will require all conversions to new dwellings under Class M, N, O, PA or Q to provide adequate levels of natural light to all habitable rooms and provide layout plans of the proposed dwellings.  It is another thing to look out for when purchasing a PDR scheme for residential clients as Prior Approval notifications take on more detail.  The upwards extension of blocks of flats by up to two storeys is also permitted – will this now be a contractual concern for clients buying that exclusive penthouse flat; how do they control what goes above them in the future?

Project Speed’ – the PM promised to “cut planning red tape holding back developments”.  The Planning White Paper moves to July, (pushing the Environment Bill back to September).  The Communities Secretary added reference to, a new category of ‘commercial, business and service’ Use Class to allow these uses to adapt to changing circumstances, the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings, upwards extensions, increasing home ownership via the Affordable Homes Programme delivering up to 180,000 homes over the next 8 years.  So, Conveyancers, watch out for some new products to grapple with.

The legislative changes are certainly keeping us busy at the moment, and that is without mention of the changes to the CIL Regs which also came out in draft last week and should help SME developers run more sites contemporaneously whilst running a “socially distanced” build program.

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