Permitted Development Rights Amended Again

The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development, Advertisement and Compensation Amendments) Regulations 2019 took effect on 25 May 2019.

As suggested by the title, the Regulations, amongst other things, amend the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. The changes can be summarised as follows:

  • make permanent the time limited right to build a larger rear extension to a dwellinghouse;
  • allow for the erection of taller upstands for off street electric vehicle charging points;
  • amend the existing right to additionally allow the change of use from takeaways to residential use;
  • allow the change of use from retail, takeaways, betting offices, payday loan shops, and launderettes to office use;
  • amend the existing right to additionally allow the temporary change of use to specified community uses: exhibition hall, public library, museum, clinic or health centre, or art gallery (other than for sale or hire), and to extend the period of temporary use from two years to three;
  • remove the existing right which allows the installation, alteration or replacement of a public call box by or on behalf of an electronic communications code operator subject to certain conditions; and
  • amend Class C of Part 4 of Schedule 2 to ensure that where there is a temporary use of a building as a state-funded school, that the building retains its original use or use class and any associated rights to change to a permanent state-funded school.

As with all permitted development rights it is crucial to pay close attention to the limitation and conditions which apply to each right. It is all too easy when considering the lawfulness of a particular development to assume that something is permitted development because it falls within the wording of the “permitted development” part of each of the classes in the GPDO schedule.  Yet the limitations on that development are many and wide ranging and some are quite difficult to apply in practice. Failing to comply with a limitation or condition can render the development unlawful and run the risk of enforcement action by the local planning authority.

Permitted Development Rights Changing to Allow More Homes to be Created from Agricultural Buildings

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order comes into effect on 6 April 2018. 

The amended permitted development rights for the change of use of agricultural buildings to provide up to five new homes will, in England, subject to limitations allow for:

  • up to 3 larger homes within a maximum of 465 square metres or
  • up to 5 smaller homes each no larger than 100 square metres or
  • a mix of both, within a total of no more than 5 homes, of which no more than 3 may be larger homes.

To further support housing delivery, developers will have a further year, until 10 June 2019, in which to benefit from the temporary permitted development right for the change of use of buildings used for storage and distribution to residential use.

The amendment order also introduces a new Article (7ZA) into the General Permitted Development Order 2015 modifying the time limits on periods for consideration of prior approval applications in instances where the Secretary of State is considering, or decides to, call in such applications under s77 of the Town and Country Planning Act. 

High Court Considers The Meaning Of The Word “Mast”

The High Court has considered the meaning of the word “mast” as used in Part 16 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (“GPDO”). 

The challenge arose in the context of the installation of a number of “pole mounts”, used to support antennae, which had been installed on a building in Lewisham by Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited.

The pole mounts had been installed without planning permission, relying upon the general grant of planning permission for telecommunications apparatus under the GPDO. 

In the GPDO, the term “mast” is defined as “a radio mast or tower”. 

Lang J considered the ordinary meaning of the word “mast”, the legislative structure of Part 16, and the purpose of the restriction in para. A.1(2)(c) and concluded that the term “radio mast” should be broadly interpreted as including any pole which supports antennae which transmit and receive radio waves and that factors such as height, scale and design could not be implied into the definition given in the GPDO.

Accordingly, as the pole mounts here did support the antennae to transmit and receive radio waves, they were masts and the decision of the Defendant was irrational. 

The judgment is important, as paragraph A.1 of Class A sets out a number of limitations relating to the installation of “masts”. If these limitations apply, the installation of telecommunications apparatus is not permitted development.