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27 July 2020

Further Changes: A Round Up

We summarise additional changes to the planning system below.

Natural light required in new flats: There are already wide permitted development rights to change certain uses to residential, including buildings in uses within Class A1, A2, A5 and B1(a), betting offices, pay day loan shops and launderettes, amusement arcades and casinos, light industrial uses and agricultural buildings.

For all the above, from 1 August 2020 (subject to transitional arrangements), the prior approval regime will be extended to require adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the dwellings. A floor plan indicating the dimensions and proposed use of the rooms, the position and dimensions of windows, doors and walls and the elevations must be provided. However, what comprises adequate natural light is not defined and the determination as to what is adequate will inevitably be a subjective judgement.

Habitable rooms comprise rooms for sleeping or living not solely used for cooking, but exclude bath or toilet facilities, service / laundry / utility rooms and corridors / hallways.

Markets: A new permitted development right applying from 25 June 2020 to 23 March 2021 will allow the use of land for the holding of a market by or on behalf of a local authority (save within SSSIs). The provision of moveable structures for the permitted use is also allowed.

Multi-track appeals: Provisions in the Business and Planning Act 2020 which came into force on 22 July 2020 allow the Secretary of State (through the Planning Inspectorate) to determine whether appeals should proceed by way of written representations, hearing or appeal, or a combination of those routes - for example allowing an appeal to proceed largely by written representations but with an informal hearing in relation to a specific aspect. Previously only one route could be used. At the time of writing, the Appeals Guidance will need to be updated.

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