Wednesday, 8 May 2019

New amendments to the GPDO

I have been keeping a look-out on the UK Legislation website for the expected amendment to the GPDO, searching (not unreasonably) under “General Permitted Development Order”, but MHCLG were too clever for me, and sneaked these amendments out in an SI entitled The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development, Advertisement and Compensation Amendments) (England) Regulations 2019 [2019 No. 907]. These regulations were made on 1 May, laid before parliament on 3 May and will take effect on 25 May. Part 2 of these Regulations sets out the amendments to the GPDO.

Part 1, Class A of the Second Schedule to the GPDO (larger domestic extensions) is amended by omitting the words “until 30th May 2019” in paragraph A.1(g), and by omitting sub-paragraphs (13), (14) and (15) in paragraph A.4, thus making this class of PD permanent. This amendment also removes the requirement for the developer to notify the LPA of the completion of the development.

A new Class of PD has been added to Part 3. This is Class JA, which permits a change of use of a building from a use falling within Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services), or Class A5 (hot food takeaways) or from use as a betting office, pay day loan shop or launderette, to a use falling within Class B1(a) (offices). I don’t propose to comment on the detailed provisions of the new Class of PD here, other than to note that there is a qualifying date of 29 October 2018 for the pre-existing use, and a floorspace limit of 500 sq m. The usual exclusions will apply, and a prior approval application is required in respect of transport and highways impacts, noise impacts from neighbouring commercial and retail premises, and any impact that the development may have on the availability in the area of services of the sort that were provided by the pre-existing use.

In Class M (residential conversion from A1 shops, A2 offices, etc.), A5 take-aways have been added to the pre-existing uses that can be changed to residential, together with a clarification of the retail impact assessment that is required.

There is also a slight clarification of the floorspace limit in Class Q (residential conversion of an agricultural building). This provides that the floor space of any [one] dwellinghouse developed under Class Q must not exceed 465 square metres. I must confess that this is how I already read Class Q (as amended in 2018), so I am not sure why it was thought necessary to insert sub-paragraph (ba). This amendment does not affect the cumulative floorspace that can be developed under Class Q, which for the reason previously explained in this blog may be up to 865 sq m in total (if larger and smaller dwellinghouses are developed in the appropriate combination).

Finally in Part 3, there is a minor updating of paragraph W so that paragraph W.10(b) now refers to the February 2019 version of the NPPF in place of the original (2012) version. The same amendment is made elsewhere in the GPDO where references were previously made to the older version of the NPPF.

Part 4, Class D (temporary use of various business premises) is amended by enlarging the uses to which the use of the specified business premises can be changed to include, in addition to those previously listed, Class D1(a) (the provision of any medical or health services except the use of premises attached to the residence of the consultant or practitioner), Class D1(d) (the display of works of art (otherwise than for sale or hire)), Class D1(e) (museum), Class D1(f) (public library or public reading room), or Class D1(g) (public hall or exhibition hall). The single period during which the premises can be put to another use under this Class of PD is also extended from 2 years to 3 years.

I have deliberately omitted some of the more obscure amendments made by these Regulations, but will just note finally the amendment to Part 16, Class A (PD for electronic communications code operators), which, as previously promised by the government, now excludes from this Class of PD the installation, alteration or replacement of a public call box. Part 3 of these Regulations also amends the Control of Advertisements Regulations to remove the whole of Class 16 from Part 1 of Schedule 3, which gave deemed consent to advertisements displayed on telephone kiosks. Thus the provision of telephone kiosks now requires planning permission, and the display of any advertisements on them now requires advertisement control consent. No doubt there will be rejoicing in local planning authorities and dismay among telecoms operators and outdoor advertising companies. This could also lead to the removal of many remaining telephone boxes, where advertising revenue can no longer be obtained to support their continued provision (an example, perhaps, of the Law of Unintended Consequences).

[For the avoidance of doubt, I should make it clear that where a prior approval application for the erection, alteration, etc. of a public call box is pending on 25 May, it must continue to be processed and, if refused, an appeal against that refusal can still be made and /or determined after that date. Secondly, a surface of a public call box which was used for displaying an advertisement on or before 24 May 2019 may continue to be used for that purpose.]



  1. Thanks for bringing this to our attention - I looked on MHCLG's website to see if there was anything about this earlier this week to no avail; In fact I can't even find anything about it there now !?! They don't make it easy!

  2. In relation to Part 1,Class A, could you clarify whether the omission of the time limit has the effect of removing the 30 May completion date for extant determinations?

    We have a number of clients whose decision notices (issued late 2018) determine that prior approval is not required but include a condition explicitly stating "The development shall be completed on or before 30th May 2019." Would we now have to re-apply or would the new Regulations override the condition?

    One client in this situation wishes to use the right to construct a "larger house extension" as a fall-back to justify alternative inappropriate development in the Green Belt. It is a remote dwelling with no near neighbours. Earlier this year, the LPA refused planning permission for the alternative development solely because it was considered unlikely the fall-back development could be completed before 30 May. In these circumstances, even if we do not re-apply, I presume the extension of the right together with the 2018 decision would provide a robust case in the context of the test relating to the lawful ability to undertake the fall-back development?

    1. The condition referred to was contained in paragraph A.4 (13) [“The development must be completed on or before 30th May 2019”] but this condition has been removed with effect from 25 May.

      This condition should not have been duplicated in a notification of prior approval, and in any case is not a condition that could properly be attached to a prior approval, having regard to the limited scope of conditions that the LPA could impose on a prior approval. However, in this case I note that the LPA notified the applicants that prior approval was not required. This cannot be made subject to any condition imposed by the LPA, and I suspect that their intention was simply to draw attention to the condition that was at that time applied to this Class of PD by the GPDO. However, as I have confirmed above, this condition has been (or will on 25th May be) removed.

      No further application will be required. Interestingly, in amending this provision MHCLG have not substituted a condition requiring completion within 3 years of the prior approval date, as they have in some other cases.

    2. A helpful query and reply for any officers currently dealing with prior approvals in the limbo-land until the 25th.

  3. hello, RE: Larger Home Extensions...will it still be necessary to submit an application (neighbour consultation - notification of proposed larger home extension) or will it just be deemed to be permitted development now without any kind of notification ?

    1. The only change is the removal of the 25th May deadline.

      A prior approval application will still be required for larger domestic extensions, involving neighbour notification by the LPA, etc.

    2. Sorry. That should have been " the 30th May deadline".

  4. Hello!! In regards to approvals of Change of Use from Office/Shops to Residential Flats, can U please clarify the duration of effectiveness of the approval.
    For example if the decision was made on 29-04-2015, how long will this be effective since nothing is specified in the decision notice.

    1. In either case (Class O or Class M), the permitted development must be completed within a period of three years starting with the prior approval date. So if the prior approval date was 29-04-2015, the conversion must have been completed and occupied, or available for immediate occupation, no later than 28-04-2018.