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Planning is confusing. It is a complex and highly politicised area that is susceptible to constant changes from policy and law makers. A lack of understanding and guidance in this area can lead to some costly irrevocable mistakes.

asb law is constantly tracking these changes and have provided a roundup of some of the main statutory updates from the second quarter of 2019 which may have an impact on development that you are undertaking.

Our roundup covers new community infrastructure levy regulations that will come in to force on 1 September 2019 as well as a summary of the changes made to permitted development rights back in May which were brought about to aid the flexible use of buildings on the high street and speed up delivery of new homes.

Reform of Community Infrastructure Levy regulations

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a tool for local authorities in England and Wales to help deliver infrastructure to support the development of the area. Generally speaking, the levy may be payable on development which creates net additional floor space, where the gross internal area of new buildings is 100 square metres or more. Depending on certain circumstances, exemptions can apply, however if the law is misunderstood or not followed exactly, exemptions will be lost.

Many have been stung by the rule that requires a Commencement Notice to be served on the CIL Collecting Authority (CA) if they are to retain their exemption to pay CIL. The crux of the matter is that the CIL requirements are unforgiving and inflexible and the CA is afforded no discretion to waive the regulatory requirements if they are not complied with, even if that non-compliance is unintended.

On 1 September 2019, however, changes to the Regulations will remove the link between the failure to serve a Commencement Notice and loss of any CIL exemption on self-build and resi-extension projects.  It is proposed that the penalty for failure to serve a commencement notice should be financial penalty of up to £2,500, rather than the loss of the exemption. This will help avoid the loss of exemptions over small discretions.

Other key CIL reforms to be introduced are:

  1. Removing the “pooling restriction” – Councils will be able to collect more than five s106 contributions to fund a single infrastructure project.  Getting rid of Reg123 lists to do this does however mean Councils could fund the same item of infrastructure through CIL and s106, effectively “double-dipping”.
  2. Abatement – for phased developments permitted prior to the adoption of CIL, amendments will now allow for a negative CIL liability in one phase of development to be offset against liability in another phase (currently a negative CIL liability is taken to be zero and therefore nothing can be used to offset liability on a later phase).
  3. Indexation on s73 applications – currently, on a s73 application, CIL is calculated on the whole floor space comprised in the s73 permission and so as a result of indexation developers could be charged more for the floor space which they have already paid CIL for under the original permission.  The proposed amendments mean that any increase in CIL liability due to indexation will only apply to the change in floor space between the original permission and the s73 permission.

Changes to Permitted Development Rights at a glance

In May, new changes to Permitted Development Rights (PDR) came into force. PDR’s allow someone to make certain changes to a building without the need to apply for planning permission. The new changes were brought about to make it easier to make changes to building uses on the high street and speed up delivery of new homes. It's worth noting that prior approval and conditions apply to the below.

The first area aims to enable housing delivery and high streets to adapt and diversify as needed.

Change of use from:

To:

A1 (shops)

A2 (financial & professional services)

A5 (hot food takeaways)

Other (betting shops, pay-day loan shops, launderettes)

B1(a) (offices)

A5 (hot food takeaways)

C3 (residential)

Changes to existing PDR’s

The timeline of temporary changes of use has been extended from 2 to 3 years. The aim of this is to allow business start-ups to have longer to test the market and ensure that premises are not left empty.

Temporary change of use extended to from 2 to 3 years:

Applies to:

A1 (shops)

A2 (financial & professional services)

A3 (restaurants & café)

A5 (hot food takeaways)

B1 (office)

D1 (non-residential institution)

D2 (assembly & leisure)

Other (betting shops, pay-day loan shops)

A1, A2, A3, B1 & some D1 uses.

 

Temporary PDR’s that have been made permanent

  • The current time limited PDR to erect larger single storey rear extensions to houses. After the introduction of this temporary PDR back in 2013 and its subsequent success, this PDR has been made permanent.

To start a conversation about how we can help you to get the outcome you want

Call us on +44 (0)345 521 4545 or send an email.