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Legislative changes for applications from 1 August 2021

by on June 29, 2021

Much like proverbial London buses, several key legislative changes from Whitehall are all coming along at once on 1 August 2021.

They will affect a range of application types on the Planning Portal as well as the guidance we provide around common projects, and we are working to update the content on the service to account for them all.

Read on for more details…

Permitted development changes affecting ‘Prior Approval’ applications

Use Classes updates

Following change to Use Classes last September, permitted development rights were left using the ‘legacy’ Use Classes until a full review and update to the legislation could take place. The deadline established in legislation was the 31 July 2021, with changes needing to be in place for 1 August 2021.

The amending legislation was published on 9 July 2021, and we are working to ensure all the changes are covered off.

View the amending legislation in full.

View the preceding technical consultation that closed at the start of June.

For our application system, this means that some of the current Prior Approval application types:

  • Will be made redundant (i.e. where there is no longer a requirement for a Prior Approval application);
  • Will be superseded (i.e. by alternative types of Prior Approval with different conditions and limitations);
  • Will see their scope altered (e.g. to the types of use that can be changed from or to).

To account for this, we will be placing warnings on relevant ‘Eligibility’ questions, and updating the content of the application types, questions and information requirements to reflect the changes and ensures users are made aware if they could be affected (e.g. if they should not continue with the application or need to use a different type of application).

We will also update relevant guidance on our website to refer to the latest Use Classes.

New permitted development rights and requirements for Prior Approval applications

In parallel to this, new permitted development rights have already been put in place that will, from 1 August 2021, allow Commercial/Business/Service uses to be changed to Dwellinghouses. As expected, there are specific conditions and limitations on this new right, including the need to make a ‘Prior Approval’ application so that specific details and matters can be reviewed by the Local Authority to determine if further action is required.

The latest legislative amendments discussed above also introduced the requirement for a Prior Approval application to be made for proposed changes from ‘commercial, business and service or betting office or pay day loan shop to mixed use’.

We will introduce fillable PDF forms for both the new prior approval application types as an interim measure whilst we work to enable it, and other ‘missing’ application types, on the new Planning Portal platform.

We will also update relevant guidance on our website to refer to the latest Permitted Development rights.

An additional consequence of this, like the Use Classes changes above, is there will be some knock-on effects for the current prior approval types that cover the same changes of use. These will be dealt with as a part of the actions to address the Use Classes updates.

Development management procedure changes, affecting applications for planning permission

Fire statements

As part of the ongoing changes to fire safety regulations, certain types of proposed development (“multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height, or 7 or more storeys”) will, from 1 August 2021, require that a ‘Fire Statement’ is completed by an expert and submitted as part of the application for planning permission.

View government planning guidance on the provision of fire statements.

Access the template fire statement and associated guidance.

See the amending legislation in full.

The legislative amendments discussed above also introduced ‘fire safety impacts‘ as an additional matter for prior approval in certain permitted development rights, and the need for a ‘statement about the fire safety design principles, concepts and standards that have been applied to the development‘ to be provided.

We will add a ‘Fire Statement’ supporting document type and making it optional for relevant application types.

We plan to link to MHCLG’s template fire statement to allow users to download and complete it before uploading it as a supporting document.

We will also surface the need for the fire statement and link to the guidance within the application questions.

Fast track determination procedures for public infrastructure developments

Certain types of proposed major public infrastructure developments (“hospitals, schools and further education colleges, prisons, young offenders’ institutions and other criminal justice accommodation”) will, from 1 August 2021, be eligible for shorter determination timeframes.

View the updated government planning guidance in relation to determination periods.

See the amending legislation in full.

We will surface the availability of this procedure and link to the guidance within the application questions.

Fee changes for certain prior approval applications

Changes to the fees for specific prior approval applications are also in the pipeline, to cover off three of the recently introduced types that had no specific fee value set.

Two of these were previously covered by more widely applicable fees:

  • Prior Approval: Change of use – commercial/business/service to dwellinghouses – Currently a £96 flat fee, will change to a fee of £100 per dwellinghouse, with exemptions if a fee has been paid for a planning application for the same proposals, or for a single ‘free go’ for a second application.
  • Prior Approval: Erection, extension, or alteration of a university building – Currently a £96 flat fee, which will remain the same, albeit called out specifically in the legislation, with no exemptions.

The other is currently free of change and will see a fee introduced:

  • Prior Approval: Enlargement of a dwellinghouse by construction of additional storeys – £96 fee to be introduced, with exemptions if a fee has been paid for a planning application for the same proposals, or if the work is for a disabled persons dwelling.

The legislation has now been approved by parliament and was ‘made’ on 2 July 2021, meaning it will come into force on 30 July 2021, just in time for the other legislative changes taking effect on the 1 August 2021.

See the amending legislation in full.

As these types of application are currently only available on Planning Portal as fillable PDF forms, we will update our fee schedule to reflect the changes to the fee values and available exemptions.

  1. John Theobald permalink

    What are the new Prior Approval application types, if any, being introduced 1 August 2021? Many thanks, John

    • Portal Director permalink

      Hi John, since your comment was posted we’ve emailed out our monthly Local Authority Bulletin, this includes an article on the changes which should answer your question. Hope this helps!

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