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TerraQuest News

- Jun 2021

Legislative changes for applications from 1 August 2021

Much like proverbial London buses, several key legislative changes from Whitehall are all coming along at once on 1 August 2021.

They will affect a range of application types on the Planning Portal as well as the guidance we provide around common projects, and we are working to update the content on the service to account for them all.

Permitted development changes affecting ‘Prior Approval’ applications

Use Classes updates

Following change to Use Classes last September, permitted development rights were left using the ‘legacy’ Use Classes until a full review and update to the legislation could take place. The deadline established in legislation was the 31 July 2021, with changes needing to be in place for 1 August 2021.

While we are still awaiting the final Statutory Instrument that actually confirms and makes the necessary amendments, much of the detail has already been surfaced by Government in a technical consultation that closed at the start of June.

For our application system, this means that some of the current Prior Approval application types:

  • Will be made redundant (i.e. where there is no longer a requirement for a Prior Approval application);
  • Will be superseded (i.e. by alternative types of Prior Approval with different conditions and limitations);
  • Will see their scope altered (e.g. to the types of use that can be changed from or to).

To account for this, we will be placing warnings on relevant ‘Eligibility’ questions, and updating the content of the application types, questions and information requirements to reflect the changes and ensures users are made aware if they could be affected (e.g. if they should not continue with the application or need to use a different type of application).

We will also update relevant guidance on our website to refer to the latest Use Classes.

New permitted development rights

In parallel to this, new permitted development rights have already been put in place that will, from 1 August 2021, allow Commercial/Business/Service uses to be changed to Dwellinghouses. As expected, there are specific conditions and limitations on this new right, including the need to make a ‘Prior Approval’ application so that specific details and matters can be reviewed by the Local Authority to determine if further action is required.

We will introduce a fillable PDF form for the new prior approval application type as an interim measure whilst we work to enable it, and other ‘missing’ application types, on the new Planning Portal platform.

We will also update relevant guidance on our website to refer to the latest Permitted Development rights.

An additional consequence of this, like the Use Classes changes above, is there will be some knock-on effects for the current prior approval types that cover the same changes of use. These will be dealt with as a part of the actions to address the Use Classes updates.

Development management procedure changes, affecting applications for planning permission

Fire statements

As part of the ongoing changes to fire safety regulations, certain types of proposed development (“multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height, or 7 or more storeys”) will, from 1 August 2021, require that a ‘Fire Statement’ is completed by an expert and submitted as part of the application for planning permission.

View government planning guidance on the provision of fire statements.

Access the template fire statement and associated guidance.

See the amending legislation in full.

We will add a ‘Fire Statement’ supporting document type and making it optional for relevant application types.

We plan to link to MHCLG’s template fire statement to allow users to download and complete it before uploading it as a supporting document.

We will also surface the need for the fire statement and link to the guidance within the application questions.

Fast track determination procedures for public infrastructure developments

Certain types of proposed major public infrastructure developments (“hospitals, schools and further education colleges, prisons, young offenders’ institutions and other criminal justice accommodation”) will, from 1 August 2021, be eligible for shorter determination timeframes.

View the updated government planning guidance in relation to determination periods.

See the amending legislation in full.

We will surface the availability of this procedure and link to the guidance within the application questions.

Fee changes for certain prior approval applications

Changes to the fees for specific prior approval applications are also in the pipeline, to cover off three of the recently introduced types that had no specific fee value set.

While it is expected that the change will come into force around 1 August 2021, the actual implementation date will depend on when parliamentary approval of the legislation is given, with the changes taking effect 28 days after the day on which the legislation is ‘made’.

Access a draft version of the legislation, and track its progress through parliament.

Two of these were previously covered by more widely applicable fees:

  • Prior Approval: Change of use – commercial/business/service to dwellinghouses – Currently a £96 flat fee, will change to a fee of £100 per dwellinghouse, with exemptions if a fee has been paid for a planning application for the same proposals, or for a single ‘free go’ for a second application.
  • Prior Approval: Erection, extension, or alteration of a university building – Currently a £96 flat fee, which will remain the same, albeit called out specifically in the legislation, with no exemptions.

The other is currently free of change and will see a fee introduced:

  • Prior Approval: Enlargement of a dwellinghouse by construction of additional storeys – £96 fee to be introduced, with exemptions if a fee has been paid for a planning application for the same proposals, or if the work is for a disabled persons dwelling.

As these types of application are currently only available on Planning Portal as fillable PDF forms, we will update our fee schedule to reflect the changes to the fee values and available exemptions.

The above article was provided to us by the Planning Portal.