Planning changes for England

Three policy announcements from MHCLG this week.

Changes to use-classes

The Government has made radical changes to to the Use Classes Order, which come into effect in 1 September 2020. These condense a number of existing uses into a single commercial, business and service use, and therefore won't require planning permission for changing use. There are a list of exceptions, including pubs, bars, nightclubs and take-away food, with a full list in the Order. Overall however, this is a significant deregulatory step that should help premises on the high street to be repurposed, but also encourage many other activities besides.

Demolition and rebuild

This permitted development right has been laid, to take effect on 31 August 2020. It allows commercial and residential buildings to be replaced with residential buildings without a full planning application, but a slimmed down prior approval process. There are a number of qualifications, including a vacancy test of six months, a size limitation of 1,000 sqm and 18m tall, and an age qualification of the demolition must be to a building built before 1990. It is not clear yet whether such developments will incur any CIL or other tariffs. 

A new £3bn Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme

The Government plans on awarding the contract over the coming weeks and for the scheme to be open for business by the end of the year. In delivering the scheme, the delivery partner will raise capital from bond market investors and on-lend the proceeds to Registered Providers of affordable housing in England. The Ministry will guarantee both the proceeds to bond investors and payments by borrowers to the issuing entity. Through the scheme, the Government will boost investment in providers of affordable housing and support the delivery of a significant number of new affordable homes.


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