Thursday, 6 April 2017

Latest changes to the GPDO


In a piece that I posted on Friday 29 July last year (“Enlarged part of the dwellinghouse”) in which I commented on the judgment of the High Court in Hilton v SSCLG [2016] EWHC 1861 (Admin), I suggested in an addendum that if any ambiguity may possibly arise from the use of the phrase “the enlarged part of the dwellinghouse” in Part 1, Class A, of the Second Schedule to the GPDO, this could readily be resolved by a simple amendment to the GPDO, rather than resorting to the Court of Appeal in an effort to reverse the High Court decision in Hilton.

As briefly noted in a couple of recent comments on that piece, DeCLoG has indeed taken the opportunity to deal with the issue by way of an amendment to the GPDO. This amendment, together with certain amendments to Part 4 of the Second Schedule to the GPDO, was included in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2017 [SI 2017 No. 391], which was made on 14 March, laid before Parliament on 15 March and comes into force today (6 April).

The amendments to Part 1, Class A now make it clear that the limit on the maximum dimension of a domestic extension under this Class applies to the total enlargement (being the enlarged part together with any existing enlargement of the original dwellinghouse to which it will be joined). This total must not exceed the limits set out in sub-paragraphs (e) to (j). This is what I (and no doubt others) had always understood to be the intention of the legislation, but this amendment puts the matter beyond doubt.

The limitation that applies to Article 2(3) land (land within a Conservation Area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a National Park, a World Heritage Site or the Broads), i.e. a domestic extension at the side of a house, or a single storey extension at the rear of the house, is similarly clarified. In these two cases, the total enlargement (being the enlarged part together with any existing enlargement of the original dwellinghouse to which it will be joined) must not exceed the limits set out in sub-paragraphs (b) and (c).

The opportunity has also been taken to change paragraph A.3(c), so that it now provides that where the enlarged part of the dwellinghouse has more than a single storey, or forms an upper storey on an existing enlargement of the original dwellinghouse, the roof pitch of the enlarged part must, so far as practicable, be the same as the roof pitch of the original dwellinghouse.

In order to enable the LPA to ensure compliance with these limits on the size of extensions, there is an additional requirement as to the information to be supplied when making a prior approval application for a larger domestic extension. This must now include (in accordance with paragraph A.4(2)(a)) information in respect of the total enlargement (being the enlarged part together with the existing enlargement to which it will be joined). Similarly, the plan provided in accordance with paragraph A.4(2)(b) must show not only the extension in respect of which the prior approval application is made, but also any existing enlargement of the original dwellinghouse to which the enlarged part will be joined; and the LPA, in notifying adjoining owners or occupiers of the application under paragraph A.4(5)(a), must describe the development by setting out all the information provided to the authority by the developer under paragraph A.4(2)(a), and this would include the information as to the total size of the existing and proposed extensions to the property compared with the size of the original dwellinghouse.

The changes made by this amendment order to Part 1, Class A, are not retrospective in their effect. So they do not apply to development where a prior approval application in respect of a larger domestic extension was made to the LPA before 6 April 2017; nor do they affect building operations which began before 6 April 2017, provided the development is completed by 6 April 2020.

Changes to PD for Schools

As regards Part 4, Class C, which (up to now) has permitted the use of a building and any land within its curtilage as a state-funded school for a single academic year, this is now extended to use for up to two academic years, but this permitted development right may still only be used once in relation to a particular site. The site must revert to its previous lawful use at the end of the second academic year or when it is no longer required for use as a state-funded school, whichever is earlier.

Where, on or before 6 April 2017, a building is or has been used as a state-funded school under a permission granted by Class C of Part 4, the permitted development right granted by Class C, as amended by this 2017 amendment order, applies to such a building as if the reference to “two academic years” were a reference to “a further academic year”. So the previous one-year use, where it has been implemented, is automatically extended to two years. In addition, a new class of permitted development has now been added to Part 4. This is Class CA, which permits the provision of a temporary state-funded school on previously vacant commercial land. The permission is for the provision of temporary school buildings on vacant commercial land and the use of that land as a state-funded school for up to three academic years. [“Vacant commercial land” means any land on which all buildings have been demolished; and which was last used for a purpose falling within Use Class B1 (business), C1 (hotels), C2 (residential institutions), C2A (secure residential institutions) or D2 (assembly and leisure), or as a school.]

Development is not permitted by Class CA if the new buildings provided would cover more than 50% of the total area of the site, or if the total floor space of the new buildings provided would exceed 2,500 square metres; nor is development under this class permitted if the land was last used more than 10 years before the date on which the developer applies for prior approval under paragraph CA.2(1)(b) [see below]. Development is also precluded where the site is, or forms part of a site of special scientific interest, a safety hazard area, or a military explosives storage area. [For the definition of these terms, see my book - A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use.]

Development under Class CA cannot be carried out where any land adjacent to the site is used for a purpose within Part C of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order (residential purposes), if any part of any temporary building provided is within 5 metres of the boundary of the curtilage of that residential land. The reference to “Part C of the Schedule” is to all or any of the use classes in that part of the Schedule to the UCO, namely C1 (hotels, guest houses, etc.), C2 (residential institutions, including care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, and residential schools, colleges or training centres), C2A (secure residential institutions, such as prisons and detention centres, other secure accommodation and military barracks), C3 (dwellinghouses), and C4 (houses in multiple occupation). The height of any new building provided must not exceed 7 metres.

The permitted development under Class CA is subject to the condition that the site must be approved for use as a state-funded school by the relevant Minister. There is also a requirement for the developer, before beginning the development, to make a prior approval application to the LPA in respect of:

(i) transport and highways impacts of the development,
(ii) noise impacts of the development,
(iii) contamination risks of the site,
(iv) flooding risks on the site, and
(v) the siting and design of the development.

As with other permitted development where a prior approval application is required, the provisions of sub-paragraphs (2) to (13) of paragraph W of Part 3 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO apply in relation to that application, subject to some minor modifications of the wording. Development under Class CA must begin within a period of 3 years starting with the prior approval date and, as noted above, the permission is granted for a maximum of three academic years, but it may be used only once in relation to a particular site. In contrast with the position under Class M of Part 7, any building erected as permitted development under Class CA must be removed from the land at the end of the third academic year or, if earlier, when it is no longer required for use as a state-funded school, and the land must be restored to its condition before the development took place, or to such other condition as may be agreed in writing between the local planning authority and the developer.

Amendments have also been made to Class M of Part 7 (relating to the erection, extension or alteration of a school). These amendments to Part 7 apply to all school buildings built or extended under Part 7, Class M. The limits in respect of the cumulative gross floor space of any buildings erected, extended or altered have been changed. These were (i) 25% of the gross floor space of the original school, college, university or hospital buildings; or (ii)100 square metres, whichever is the lesser. The latter has been replaced by a limit of 250 square metres in the case of a school, and 100 square metres in all other cases. The limit still applies to the lesser of these two alternatives.

Paragraph M.1(b) precluded development that would be within 5 metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the premises, but this limitation now applies only to a college, university or hospital building. Paragraph M.1(ba) now provides that development is precluded in the case of a school, where any land adjacent to the site is used for a purpose within Part C of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order (residential purposes), if any part of the proposed development is within 5 metres of the boundary of the curtilage of that residential land. [See above for the reference to “Part C” of the schedule to the UCO.]

The development permitted by Part 7, Class M, is precluded where a building has changed use by virtue of Class S of Part 3. This exclusion of permitted development under Class M of Part 7 now extends also to a building which was erected by virtue of Class CA of Part 4, but this exclusion does not apply to a building erected under Class C of Part 4 (see paragraph O in Part 7).

© MARTIN H GOODALL

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