Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Permitted Development extension consultation out at last


After an inordinate delay (bearing in mind the energy and enthusiasm with which ministers announced their intentions more than 6 weeks ago), De-CLoG has at last published a consultation paper on proposed changes to the Second Schedule to the GPDO, outlining their proposals for increased permitted development rights for domestic extensions and certain other developments. The proposals are fairly simple and straightforward, so the delay is all the more mystifying. What kept them?

Single-storey rear extensions, currently limited to 4 metres for a detached house and 3 metres for other house types, will be increased to 8 metres and 6 metres respectively, although not in ‘protected areas’ (conservation areas, AONBs, etc.). This increase would also apply to conservatories. Other controls and limitations on extensions would be unchanged.

The government also wants to make it easier to carry out the conversion of garages to provide additional residential accommodation (such as a ‘granny annex’). As matters stand, this does not represent a change of use, and it is only physical changes to the garage that might possibly fall outside the scope of Class E. It is this, and restrictive conditions preventing such conversions that the government wants to tackle, although no concrete proposals are put forward.

Shops and financial/professional services establishments are currently able to extend their premises by up to 50 sq m, provided that this does not increase the gross floor space of the original building by more than 25%, and subject to various other limitations. The suggestion is that (except in ‘protected areas’ – conservation areas, AONBs, etc.) these limits should be raised to 100 sq m and 50%. It is also suggested that businesses should be able to build up to the boundary of the premises, except where the boundary is with a residential property (in which case the requirement to leave a 2-metre gap would be retained). The new right would not allow changes to a shop front, or extensions beyond a shop front. Similar increases are also proposed for offices and industrial premises.

As previously announced, the intention is that these extended permitted development rights will apply for only 3 years (starting with the publication of the necessary amendment to the GPDO), and they must actually be completed within that three-year period. This could lead to some interesting enforcement problems where such an extension is well advanced but not yet substantially completed when the three-year period expires. In practice, there is more than a hint that these changes may in fact be made permanent.

The consultation period runs until Christmas Eve. So it’s ‘Merry Christmas!’ from our friends at De-CLoG.

© MARTIN H GOODALL

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