Expert Insights

Expert Insights

Planning Gateway One to introduce new fire safety requirements for high rise residential buildings

The government is proposing to introduce a number of new requirements to the planning system to ensure fire safety matters as they relate to land use planning are incorporated at the planning stage for schemes involving certain high rise residential buildings. The requirements, referred to as Planning Gateway One, come off the back of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety and government consultation on proposed reforms following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017 and are intended to take effect from 1 August 2021 (subject to parliamentary scrutiny).

Under the new Planning Gateway One, planning applications for development which involves (a) the provision of one or more “relevant buildings” (i.e. building of 18 metres or more or 7 or more storeys (whichever is reached first) and containing two or more dwellings or education accommodation); (b) the development of an existing relevant building; or (c) development within the curtilage of a relevant building must be accompanied by a fire statement. In addition local authorities must consult the Health and Safety Executive on fire safety before granting planning permission for any such development.

Fire statements must be submitted on a standard form published by the Secretary of State (or a form to similar effect) and include the following information:

  • the principles, concepts and approach relating to fire safety that have been applied to each building in the development
  • the site layout
  • emergency vehicle access and water supplies for firefighting purposes
  • what, if any, consultation has been undertaken on issues relating to the fire safety of the development; and what account has been taken of this
  • how any policies relating to fire safety in relevant local development documents have been taken into account

According to government guidance the fire statement should include information for the entire development site and not just relevant buildings.

The requirement to submit a fire statement does not apply to applications for outline planning permission or applications under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act. Applications for a material change of use of a relevant building where the change of use would result in the building no longer being a relevant building, and applications for a material change in use of land / buildings within the curtilage of a relevant building are also exempt.

The government guidance on Planning Gateway One notes that MHCLG intend to introduce fire safety prior approval for residential development being delivered under the permitted development regime, however no secondary legislation has been introduced to date.

Planning Gateway One is one of three gateway points which relevant developments / buildings must go through, which are said to bring about the biggest change in building safety for a generation. Keep an eye out for our further information on Gateway Two and Gateway Three to follow.

For more information please contact Lydia O'Hagan, or your usual Charles Russell Speechly contact. 

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