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New Prior Approvals for the end of August, and Use Class changes from the start of September

by on August 25, 2020

The next round of legislative updates from Government introduce a further 6 specific types of permitted development (each requiring a ‘Prior Approval’ application), set a fee to most of the new prior approval application types, and usher in significant changes to how uses are classified.

We will be providing PDF forms to allow Prior Approval to be applied for where proposals fall under the new permitted development rights and work to integrate these into our online services going forward.

We have also updated our consolidated fee schedule to cover the introduction of the fee that applies to Prior Approval applications for new dwellinghouses.

Where the changes to use classes affect our planning information, application forms and services, we are updating content to account for them.

Further information on the changes to be made are detailed below.

All of this will assist our users in the completion and submission of valid applications to Local Authorities.

We are also currently reviewing the contents of the Planning White Paper and related consultations to ensure we respond to the ever-changing needs of the planning system and continue to meet the considerable challenge of reforming the procedures and structures that underpin it.

New Prior Approval application types

This year’s second and third sets of amendments to English Permitted Development legislation introduces rights (from 31 August 2020) and a requirement to apply for Prior Approval for:

  • Upward extension of existing dwellinghouses (additional storeys)
  • Demolition of existing buildings to replace with new dwellinghouses
  • New dwellinghouses in additional storeys on terraced and detached buildings in commercial or mixed use or in use as dwellinghouses

We are currently producing fillable PDF forms to allow relevant Prior Approval applications. These will shortly be available from our downloadable forms section.

They also provide minor updates for the previously introduced right and application type for new dwellinghouses in additional storeys on detached blocks of flats. We are updating the existing form to account for these.

A fee is also being introduced (from 2 September 2020) for all Prior Approval applications that cover the rights to create new dwellinghouses. We have updated our consolidated fee schedule to include reference to this.

Changes to Use Classes

Wholesale legislative changes determining how uses of buildings and land in England are classified will take effect (with certain transitional procedures and periods) from 1 September 2020.

Effectively, it replaces the previous A (shops, services, food and drink) B1 (business) and D (non-residential institutions, assembly and leisure) classes by creating a new broader Class E (commercial, business and service) and two more specific F classes (1. learning and non-residential institutions; 2. local community).

Due to the reclassification, a number of uses previously within Class A or D that don’t fit into the new E and F classes, and several previously undefined uses have been specifically excluded from classification and therefore become ‘Sui Generis’ (in a class of its own):

  • a public house, wine bar, or drinking establishment,
  • a drinking establishment with expanded food provision,
  • a hot food takeaway for the sale of hot food where consumption of that food is mostly undertaken off the premises,
  • a venue for live music performance,
  • a cinema,
  • a concert hall,
  • a bingo hall,
  • a dance hall.

In making these changes, Government has also introduced a ‘material period’ that runs from 1 September 2020 until 31 July 2021 meaning that, for all the current Permitted Development rights (including those detailed above), the Use Classes in place up to the end of August 2020 will remain in effect until the end of this period. This also applies to any existing direction that restricts these rights.

So, what does this mean for content on the Planning Portal and our application service?

Applications submitted before 1 September 2020 will be determined based on the Use Classes in place up to the end of August 2020.

Based on the ‘material period’ detailed above, our permitted development content and Prior Approval application types will also continue to reference the ‘old’ Classes for the time being, though we will be updating relevant areas to acknowledge this.

For other applications, any reference that needs to be made to the new E & F Use Classes will need to be added as ‘Other’ and have detailed provided. This is an interim measure while we work to update the relevant question sets and our data standard to account for the new classes.

From → Legislation

  1. Andrew Maltby permalink

    Can you advise when the latest Housing Delivery Test results are likely to be published please?

  2. owen jordan permalink

    As an illustration of how hmg is planning to dispense with the English language and simply use Newspeak, this surely takes the biscuit. A permitted development is not a permitted development if it requires an application. That is called a consent process. This looks more like winding in the meaning of permitted development so it actually means ‘only permitted if the planning department approve an application’

  3. Jacky Clark permalink

    Can you comment on the lack of clarity for a fee for the new Part 1 Class AA additional storeys for existing dwellings prior approval applications?

    • Government missed it out of the latest fee amendments so there is no fee set for it currently. It will need to be made by a future amendment, which will be subject parliamentary approval. Therefore, I cant see one being in place for at least a month, probably longer.

  4. Karen Louise Moulson permalink

    As a legal bid is to be heard in October about the new planning rules one wonders if they might be amended or even go ahead .

  5. John Bone, C.Build.E MCABE (Building Control Inspector) permalink

    Please can you remind the readers of your websites & downloadable forms and help notes that none of the Government’s recent or future raft of “Permitted Development” and “use Class chanhes” changes, imply that their proposed building work will be exempt from complying with the requirements of the current Building Regulations”. alas the urban & rural ‘myth’ that as my works do not need “Full TP”… it will therefore not need “BR” is sadly still rampant.

  6. Peter Dunstan BSc MRICS permalink

    When will the associated Technical guidance document for ‘Permitted Development Rights for Householders’ be updated to include the new upward extensions for additional storeys, Class AA, etc., to give national design interpretation? Last updated September 2019.

  7. Please can you advise if there are any new changes that permits a sui generis ‘HMO’ or other type of building, to be converted to 1 house, or flats ?

    • Hi Allan,

      There have not been any new permitted development rights introduced that apply to Sui Generis HMOs or Use Class C4 HMOs.

      Two of the new rights for construction of new dwellinghouses (in additional storeys above existing buildings) do cover the Sui Generis uses “as a betting office, pay day loan shop or launderette”. But these are not for changes of use.

      There have been no other new permitted development rights introduced for Sui Generis uses.

      I also note that the recent amendments to the Use Classes have seen certain uses become ‘Sui Generis’ rather than being placed into the new Use Classes E/F1/F2:

      – public houses, wine bars, or drinking establishments – from 1 September 2020, previously Use Class A4
      – drinking establishments with expanded food provision – from 1 September 2020, previously Use Class A4
      – hot food takeaways (for the sale of hot food where consumption of that food is mostly undertaken off the premises) – from 1 September 2020, previously Use Class A5
      – venues for live music performance – newly defined as ‘Sui Generis’ from 1 September 2020
      – cinemas – from 1 September 2020, previously Use Class D2(a)
      – concert halls – from 1 September 2020, previously Use Class D2(b)
      – bingo halls – from 1 September 2020, previously Use Class D2(c)
      – dance halls – from 1 September 2020, previously Use Class D2(d)

  8. Robert Board permalink

    What, if any, are the changes to permitted development in Wales?

    • Hi Robert,

      The recent changes to permitted development and use classes apply in England only. There have been no corresponding changes in Wales so far.

  9. Mark Darnell permalink


    Can you please advice how best to apply for Prior Approval for the new Class A, AA, AB, AC etc?

    Many Thanks,


    • Portal Director permalink

      Hello Mark, your query has been passed on to our Support Team and they will be in touch.

  10. Catherine Shaw permalink

    After 31July 2021, will Prior Approval be required before change of use within class E from Retail to (unlicensed) Restaurant? Unlike other changes of use, a new restaurant will have a huge impact on neighbouring properties. How will councils be able to assess and control the effects of noise, odours, placement of extractor fans and disturbance from extended opening hours on local residents? Can, for example, a shoe shop become a 24 hour McDonalds without need for Prior approval?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Catherine,

      Changes of use within the same Use Class will not require an application for prior approval. However, any work associated with the change of use will still need permission.

      Therefore, any change of use that requires significant changes to the building will still likely need to be considered by the Local Authority in some way.

      It’s also worth noting that ‘Takeaways’ (a hot food takeaway for the sale of hot food where consumption of that food is mostly undertaken off the premises) are now classed as a ‘Sui Generis’ use that leaves it outside of Use Class E, and more strictly controls any proposed changes to or from that use.

Please give us your feedback but we won’t publish any comments that are not constructive or that criticise any individual, any named business or any local authority. Please note, all comments will be moderated before being published.

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