Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Amended application fees

I imagine that most of my professional readers will be aware by now of the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017 No.1314) which came into effect in mid-January.

Article 2 has increased application fees generally by 20% (rounded up to whole pounds) as the government had previously announced.

Article 5(2) of these amendment regulations has removed the fee exemption previously contained in Article 5 of the 2012 fee regs which had relieved applicants of any liability to pay an application fee where they were applying for planning permission due either to the removal of a permitted development right by an Article 4 Direction or to its removal by a condition attached to a planning permission.

The fee increase in respect of applications for prior approval under the GPDO is dealt with separately by Article 5(3) of the new regulations (as it was by the previous version of these regulations when prior approval applications were introduced). The recent amendments to these fees generally do no more than increase the fees by 20%, but the fee for prior approval under Part 4 (temporary buildings and uses) is the same [now £96] whether or not any building operations are involved (under Class E, in connection with temporary film-making). Unless I had previously mis-read the original fees regulations, this is in contrast to the earlier rule that a fee of £172 was payable for a combined application for both operational development and building operations under Part 4, Class E.

The £96 fee is now also payable for applications under Part 7 (non-domestic extensions, alterations etc), and Part 14 (renewable energy) in addition (as before) to those made under Part 6 (agricultural and forestry) and Part 11 (heritage and demolition).

Having waded through these amendment regulations, as well as various other amendment regulations on other subjects recently, I am bound to say that it would make life far easier for everyone who has to interpret, apply and operate under this detailed subordinate legislation if, instead of simply amending the earlier statutory instrument by reference, the government were to replace the previous version entirely. Whilst this might involve reprinting large wodges of text which had not in fact been amended, it would make the exercise of understanding the regulations as a whole a great deal easier for all concerned.


Monday, 12 March 2018

STOP PRESS :::: PD rights for residential conversions extended

There has been much speculation as to whether the government would extend the PD right under Class P (for the residential conversion of buildings used for storage within Use Class B8). An absolute deadline for the commencement of residential use required all developments of this type to be completed no later than 15 April 2018, failing which this PD right would lapse.

However MHCLG has now announced a one-year extension of this deadline. I don’t know yet whether the government has laid an amending Order to give effect to this extension, or if not how soon they expect to do so, but they have left this extension of time extremely late, and have no doubt caused much anxiety and inconvenience to property owners and developers by failing to make up their minds earlier about extending this deadline.

In the same announcement, the Ministry has confirmed their intention (which they had previously canvassed) to extend the PD right under Class Q to enable either up to three dwellings to be created on a single agricultural unit (as now), but subject to a slightly increased cumulative floorspace limit of 465 square metres (compared with the previous cumulative limit of 450 sq m), or alternatively up to five dwellings, each of which would be limited to no more than 100 sq m. Within these limits, it seems that developers will be allowed to ‘mix and match’ their development, provided that no more than three of the new dwellings exceed the 100 sq m limit (but still subject to the overall limit of five dwellings).

I think we shall need to see the actual wording of the amendment order to understand exactly how these new limits will work, especially in relation to a combination of larger and smaller dwellings.

The government has also announced a proposed enlargement of PD rights for the erection of agricultural buildings on larger agricultural holdings under Part 6, which will enable buildings of up to 1,000 sq m to be erected (in place of the current limit of 465 sq m). Again, precise details will need to be checked when the amending order to the GPDO is made.

UPDATE (13.3.18): I am grateful to Steve Jupp for pointing out that the amending order is the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2018 (SI 2018 No.343), which was made on 8 March and takes effect on 6 April.

I haven’t had time yet to get my head round the detailed drafting amendments but, for the purposes of Class Q, a “larger dwellinghouse” is defined as a dwellinghouse developed under Class Q which has a floor space of more than 100 square metres and no more than 465 square metres, and a “smaller dwellinghouse” is defined as a dwellinghouse developed under Class Q which has a floor space of no more than 100 square metres.

Subject to this definition, in the case of a larger dwellinghouse within an established agricultural unit the cumulative number of separate larger dwellinghouses developed under Class Q must not exceed 3; nor must the cumulative floor space of the existing building or buildings changing use to a larger dwellinghouse or dwellinghouses under Class Q exceed 465 square metres. Similarly, in the case of a smaller dwellinghouse within an established agricultural unit, the cumulative number of separate smaller dwellinghouses developed under Class Q must not exceed 5; nor must the floor space of any one separate smaller dwellinghouse exceed 100 square metres.

The development under Class Q (together with any previous development under Class Q) within one and the same agricultural unit must not result in either or both of the following—
(i) a larger dwellinghouse or larger dwellinghouses having more than 465 square metres of floor, and/or
(ii) the cumulative number of separate dwellinghouses exceeding 5.

So far as Class P is concerned, this is now amended so that the PD right under this class is only disapplied if the prior approval date falls on or after 10 June 2019 (so the deadline has been extended for around 14 months) and there is now also a condition that the development must be completed within a period of 3 years starting with the prior approval date.


Friday, 9 March 2018


I quite frequently receive queries from correspondents that could very easily be answered by referring to one or other of my two books - A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use (currently in its Second Edition) and The Essential Guide to the Use of Land and Buildings under the Planning Acts, and I often answer these questions by drawing the enquirer’s attention to the relevant passage in one or other of these two books.

This suggests to me that there are still some of you out there who haven’t yet bought either or both of these two books, who would benefit greatly by having access to them, either on your bookshelf, or by accessing the electronic version on your computer. I have been told by readers that they have found these two books a huge help in guiding them through the law and practice relating to the use of land and buildings and changes of use. At least two correspondents told me that the book paid for itself within a week of their receiving it, by providing the answer to particular problems that they had encountered and to which they had been unable to find the answer from other sources.

The two books are complementary to each other, and together they provide a very full explanation of the issues that affect the use of land and buildings and changes of use. Having the electronic version of the books is clearly the modern way of accessing the text quickly and conveniently, and so Bath Publishing are currently making a special offer, which will give you a free copy of the electronic version of both books when you buy the printed editions of the two books together. This offer therefore gives you £200-worth of conveniently accessible and extremely valuable information on these important subjects for a combined price of only £100 (compared with a total cost of £150 if you were to buy the print/digital bundle for each book separately).

If you click on the Down arrow on the right-hand side in either of the drop-down lists below each book title which you can see in the left-hand margin of this page, you will find the details of this offer, and can order online through that link. Don’t miss out; you will find these two books an invaluable resource, which will save you much time and frustration in discovering the answers to the problems and conundrums that so frequently arise in this area of planning law and practice.