The Government has announced a new deal to help put new jobs and infrastructure at the centre of the Government’s Economic Growth Strategy, with a commitment to ‘build, build, build’ to help the recovery following COVID-19.
The announcement has identified a £12 billion affordable homes programme which will support the building of 180,000 new affordable homes, with a 1500 unit pilot of ‘First Homes’ that will be sold at 30% discount. The £400 million Brownfield Fund has been allocated to support the provision of around 24,000 homes across England. Smaller developers will receive an additional £450 million boost from the Home Building Fund to assist with delivery of approximately 7,200 new homes.
The Government have also pledged to look at how land within their ownership can be managed more effectively with a Planning Policy Paper due to be launched later in July which will set out a plan for the comprehensive reform of England’s planning system which will introduce a new approach that works for our modern economy and society.
The Government have confirmed that there will be greater flexibility with commercial buildings and extensions in regard to Permitted Development Rights. An outline of some of these changes will be:
- A wider range of buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for planning permission
- A ‘traditional planning application’ will no longer be required to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are to be rebuilt as homes
- Property owners will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process (subject to neighbour consultation)
- Commercial premises will have flexibility to be used for alternative used through a reform to the Use Class Order (excluding pubs, libraries, village shops and essential uses)
The Government has also announced immediate changes to the General Permitted Development Order which will come into force on 1st August 2020. Councils can now agree to extensions of time on permitted development applications as is the case with normal planning applications. Class M (retail/takeaway/professional services to residential), Class O (B1 Office to residential), Class PA (light industrial to residential) and Class Q (agricultural buildings to residential) are required to be submitted with full plans and drawings which must show that all habitable rooms have adequate natural light.