Friday, 27 March 2015

General Permitted Development Order – All change!

NOTE: For completely up-to-date and comprehensive coverage of this subject, we would strongly recommend readers to obtain a copy of the author’s new book - “A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO PERMITTED CHANGES OF USE” published by Bath Publishing in October 2015. You can order your copy by clicking on the link on the left-hand sidebar of this page.

It seems I only have to be away from my desk for a couple of days, and all sorts of major changes take place! De-CLoG has finally succeeded in getting its act together, and has completely replaced the much-amended 1995 GPDO with a consolidated order – the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (SI 2015 No. 596).

Not only does this consolidate the many amendments that had previously been made to the GPDO, but it also introduces the further amendments, or at least some of them, that the government had been promising or threatening for the best part of a year now. The Order was made on 18 March, laid before parliament on 24 March and comes into force on 15 April. (Talk about ‘last-minute merchants’!).

The main changes made by the new GPDO are:

— the date for the expiry of permitted development right for larger home extensions (in Class A of Part 1) has been extended and will now expire on 30 May 2019;

BUT the time limit for the residential conversion of offices (formerly Class J, now Class O) has not been extended, and is still set to expire on 30 May 2016.

— the previous time-limit for extensions to non-domestic premises (offices, shops, industrial buildings and schools etc) have been made permanent (now Part 7 of Schedule 2);

— a number of new permitted development rights have been inserted in Part 3 (changes of use): the conversion of retail premises to restaurants / cafes (Class C); the existing permitted development to convert a shop to a deposit-taker is replaced by a wider right to convert a shop (or a betting office) to a premises providing financial and professional services (Classes D and F); the conversion of retail premises to assembly and leisure (Class J); the conversion of casinos or amusement arcades to dwellinghouses (Class N); and the conversion of premises used from storage or distribution centre uses to dwellinghouses (Class P);

— a new permitted development right for temporary use of building and land for commercial film-making has been inserted in Part 4;

— a new permitted development right has been included for the provision of click and collection facilities within the curtilage of a shop and for increasing the size of loading bays for shops and permitted development for the extension etc of buildings used for waste facilities (see Classes C, D and L of Part 7 of Schedule 2); and

— a new permitted development right for the installation of solar PV panels, with a generating capacity of up to 1 MW on the roofs of non-domestic buildings (Class J(c) of Part 14).

We are clearly going to have to get out heads round various re-numberings, and more subtle changes to the legislation that this new Order brings about, but it does represent a welcome tidying up of what had become a very messy document. Having been out of the office since Tuesday afternoon, I have only had time to give the new GPDO a very cursory examination, and will have to study it in detail in the coming days and weeks.

I was very close to completing a book on Permitted Changes of Use, and now I am going to have to do some fairly urgent revision of the text! The book won’t need a compete re-write, but clearly a lot of the references to the legislation are going to have to be changed. I had already anticipated these changes to some extent while writing the book, but there are nevertheless going to have to be a number of revisions to the text, and this is an extra task which I would frankly have preferred to avoid. Such is the lot of an author!



  1. Do you think the office to residential pd will be extended?

  2. Yes. See “Catching up” posted here on 21 July 2015.

  3. My colleague and I are arguing about two (potentially inter-related) aspects of Class O. The first is one that we keep coming back to: "What constitutes 'completion' under Class O?". But leaving that one aside for now, this specific argument centres around what's required for validation. I maintain that only one 'plan' is required, as per the wording of the legislation, but my colleague insists that it must mean 'one plan per floor level', otherwise how could the LPA really know what's being proposed.

    Who's right?

  4. Oh, they just made it permanent. Argument over.

  5. See now my blog post of 13/10/15. The argument isn’t entirely over, because we don’t yet know precisely what provisions the amendment order will contain. The only definite announcement so far has been a single sentence in yesterday’s press release that the completion deadline for office conversions would be removed entirely (and not just extended for 3 years, as the government originally proposed).

  6. In answer to Passer-by (12 Oct), both of these questions are addressed in my book. Completion means that the change of use has taken place, but in light of dicta in Welwyn Hatfield this may not necessitate actual occupation, provided that the building is actually ready for occupation.

    Paragraph W simply mentions ‘a plan’, and I would argue that the LPA is not concerned with the internal domestic arrangements in this case. On the other hand, especially where the proposal is for the conversion of an agricultural building under Class Q, the LPA may reasonably wish to check that the development can be carried out (in structural terms) within the fairly limited scope of the permitted development, which allows only a limited element of demolition and new build (within the existing building envelope). Structural drawings may well be needed to demonstrate that the development is within the limitations and restrictions of Class Q.

    For the full answer to these questions, buy my book! It can be ordered by clicking on the link on the left-hand side of the page.

  7. Thank you. The book is already purchased (along with the seminar!!) :-)