Thursday, 29 September 2016

Additional development in connection with PD

I have pointed out before that it is open to anyone who wishes to carry out development under Part 3 of the Second Schedule to the GPDO (involving various changes of use) also to make an application for planning permission for building works which do not fall within the scope of the development permitted by the GPDO. A planning application for other works can be made at the same time as or after a prior approval application in respect of the change of use of the same building. It has occurred most commonly in relation to the residential conversion of offices under Class O, but there is no reason why a similar planning application should not be made in connection with other changes of use, including the residential conversion of an agricultural building under Class Q.

The planning application could not practicably be determined before the determination of the prior approval application, but this is the only constraint so far as the timing of such a planning application is concerned. The principle of the residential conversion is established by the planning permission that is granted by Article 3 of the GPDO (and Class Q in Part 3), subject only to prior approval. So it is only the additional building operations themselves that would fall to be considered in any planning application for those additional works.

This does not seem to be fully understood by some councils. An appeal in Shropshire which was allowed earlier this month provides a clear example. Prior approval had been granted under Class Q to create three dwellings, and the residential conversion was proceeding. A planning application was then made for change of use of an adjoining area of agricultural land to residential use so as to provide private gardens for the new dwellings, and the construction of two car ports. (Fencing was also proposed, although this should surely have been permitted development under Part 2.) The LPA sought to resist this development on the grounds that the change of use in respect of which prior approval had been given had not yet taken place. However, works for the conversion of the building were proceeding apace, and the Inspector had no reason to consider that this would not be completed in a timely manner, leading to residential occupation.

A second ground on which the LPA sought to oppose this appeal was that there are specific limits in Class Q as to the extent of permitted development that is acceptable. The Inspector observed that this is so, but is solely in the context of what is permissible under the prior approval. It does not preclude further planning applications in connection with buildings converted under that procedure. It is reasonable for such applications to be considered in the context of the surroundings and nature of the site to which they relate, rather than to assume harm from the outset on the basis of the Class Q limits, which did not apply to the subsequent planning application.

The main issue was therefore the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the host site and the surrounding countryside. The Inspector observed that it was a reasonable expectation for the individual residential dwellings to have the benefit of a decent-sized garden, storage/tool shed and appropriate car parking facilities, ideally covered, in this rural location. The proposed change of an area of land adjacent to the development to residential use would enable that provision whilst the further area to the north of the farmhouse would replace the car parking area that it was losing. The farmhouse, immediately to the west of the appeal site, was already a residential dwelling with a large domestic garden to the rear. There were a number of other residences in the surrounding area which also had defined garden areas similar in scale to the proposal. So it would not appear out of character in its size, and the proposed development was not into virgin countryside. The Inspector concluded that the proposal would not harm the character and appearance of the existing buildings at this farm or the surrounding countryside.

Incidentally, Regulation 14(1A) of the 2012 Fees Regulations provides that no application fee is required for the prior approval application where an application fee is paid for a planning application made in respect of proposals for development of a site which includes buildings or other land which are the subject of the prior approval application, provided that the application for planning permission is made on the same date and by or on behalf of the same applicant as the prior approval application.

These points, among many others, are discussed in detail in the new edition of my book, A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use. This is just a taster of the mine of useful information and practical advice that the book contains. You can place an order by clicking on the red button on the sidebar on the left of this page. (And why not come along to our seminar as well?)


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

SECOND EDITION – and now the Seminar

In addition to publishing the Second Edition of my book, “A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use”, BATH PUBLISHING are organising another seminar on this subject, in conjunction with KEYSTONE LAW, which is to be held at the RIBA at 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD on Friday 18 November.

This will be a morning event, starting at 10.00 a.m. (with registration from 9.30) and is timed to finish at around 1.00 p.m., including a mid-morning coffee break. The charge for this event will be a very reasonable £135 +VAT if you book before 25 October and includes a copy of the Second Edition of my book, (both the print & digital versions worth £75 when published), which will be sent to all delegates on publication.

The seminar will cover those topics that have been the subject of change in 2016 and, by popular demand, this time we have included two panel discussions to give delegates an extended opportunity to put questions to the speakers.

The seminar will be chaired by Brian Waters, principal of the Boisot Waters Cohen Partnership, who is the well-known Chair of the London Planning Forum.

I shall be speaking on Changes to Class O, the new Class PA and the residential conversion of launderettes, plus an update on the issue of structural alterations (particularly under Class Q).

Arita Morris, Director of Child Graddon Lewis, Architects, will look at the practical aspects of “Office to residential conversions: what you need to know now”

And my colleague Ben Garbett will give an update on appeal decisions and judgments in the past year. (Topics covered may include transport issues and planning obligations, sustainability of location, other matters requiring prior approval, and preclusive conditions in the light of Dunnett Investments.)

You can read more about the programme and venue or book online on the Bath Publishing website here.

Professional delegates will be able to claim 2½ hours’ CPD for this event.

Places at the seminar are limited so it will be ‘first come, first served’. Don’t delay. You can book your place now by clicking on the button below the seminar icon on the left-hand side of this page, by calling Bath Publishing on 01225 577810 or by completing the booking form available here and returning it with your payment and full contact details to:


Monday, 5 September 2016

Guide to Changes of Use – SECOND EDITION

I am delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of the Second Edition of A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use. A pre-order offer can be found in the left-hand margin of this page. The discounted price for the softback + digital edition of the book is a remarkable bargain compared with the recommended cover price, saving £25 on the combined price when the book is published. All you have to do is to click on the red button to add the book to your basket, and then follow the online payment instructions.

This new edition has been completely revised. It contains all the changes to Part 3 of the Second Schedule to the GPDO that have been made in 2016, as well as many additional prior approval appeal decisions, and several important High Court judgments on this subject. The opportunity has been taken to expand the text with additional material on several topics, which has added some 70 pages to the text.

The modest increase in price reflects the amount of extra information that the book now contains. The new edition will rapidly become the essential text for all planning practitioners and developers dealing with permitted changes of use. It contains much practical advice on the actual conduct of prior approval applications and numerous examples of appeal decisions on the thorny issues which have arisen under the prior approval procedure.

Everyone who purchased the first edition of A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use will want to buy this new edition, so as to ensure that they are working from the up-to-date text. If you didn’t buy the first edition, this is your chance to get completely up to speed on this subject, with a sound practical guide that will steer you around the many traps and hazards that await the unwary and the uninformed.

We are hoping that the new edition will be available by mid-October, so there are only a few short weeks in which to take advantage of the generous pre-publication offer price.