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What are the latest developments with the planning process?

This is a very hard question to answer, mainly because the planning process and all of its many components are being updated and changed on a regular basis. It is difficult to keep track of the latest developments. Nevertheless, 4D Planning Consultants are constantly following the latest developments and changes to the planning system, and are able to share this information with you. To discuss any queries you may have, or development ideas or proposals in the pipeline, please give us a ring, and we will be more than happy to discuss.

The Government has currently adopted a new NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) which replaces many of the existing Planning Policy Statements and Guidelines. The Government has also abolished regional planning, and is proposing a Localism Planning framework which is part of the Localism Act.

In July 2011, the Mayor of London produced an updated strategic development plan for London, otherwise known as the "London Plan". The new London Plan policies form part of the strategic development plan with immediate effect and therefore planning applications will be determined in accordance with these. In addition, emerging planning policy documents across London will require to conform with the policies in the London Plan. It is therefore essential that developers, landowners, investors and others with an interest in land and development to take account of the new plan. Whilst it is encouraging that the Mayor has sought to produce a more prosaic approach to planning policy across London, the desire to introduce flexibility means some key requirements will be subject to a degree of interpretation by Local Planning Authorities. This places a greater emphasis on negotiation with the local Council.

Every London Borough has recently (or should have recently) replaced their UDPs (Unitary Development Plan) with a new LDF (Local Development Framework). This contains a suite of folders and documents that form part of the Local Authorities Development Plan for the Borough for the next 10-15 years. Every Borough has its own rules, regulations and policies, and 4D Planning Consultants have studied, and continue to study these documents to ensure that we are able to offer the most up-to-date service for our clients.

On the 6th September, 2012 the government announced new plans to ease the Permitted Development rights for different developments. On 12th November, 2012 the new plans were put out to consultation and adopted on 31st May 2013. The adopted plans are as follows:

increasing the PD limits for the depth of single-storey domestic extensions from 4m to 8m (for detached houses) and from 3m to 6m (for all other houses), in non-conservation areas, for a period of three years. No changes are proposed for extensions of more than one storey
increasing the PD size limits for extensions to shop and professional/financial services establishments to 100 sq m, and allowing the building of these extensions up to the boundary of the property (except where the boundary is with a residential property), in non-conservation areas, for a period of three years
increasing the PD size limits for extensions to offices to 100 sq m, in non-conservation areas, for a period of three years
increasing the size limits for new industrial buildings within the curtilage of existing industrial premises to 200 sq m, in non-conservation areas, for a period of three years

On 6th April 2014 the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2014 came into force extending the General Permitted Development Order ("GPDO") to allow additional changes in use without the need for planning permission. These changes include the conversion of A2 and A1 shops to residential units without the need to apply for planning permission.

The most recent amendment comprising The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2015. The government anounced in October 2015 that the temporary change of use from offices to residential will become permanent. All past prior approval applications will be extended until 2019 and not until 30th May 2016.

Buildings with A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, D1 and D2 uses are permitted to change use for a single period of up two years to A1, A2, A3 and B1 uses. Agricultural buildings under 450sq m are permitted to change to Class C3 dwellinghouses, together with some building operations necessary to facilitate the conversion. This is subject to meeting certain criteria, including no more than 3 dwellings within an agricultural unit.

Buildings and land within Class B1, C1, C2, C2A and D2 uses are permitted to change to a state funded school or registered nursery. This is subject to meeting certain criteria, and Prior Approval being sought in respect of transport and highways impacts, noise impact, and contamination risks.

If you are not sure whether your proposals meet the requirements set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order, you should apply for a lawful development application. If you meet all the requirements, you will be granted a certificate of lawfulness or 'Prior Approval' from the council. 4D Planning Consultants can advise you whether your development falls under permitted development, and we can prepare this application on your behalf, and produce all the architectural drawings as required for this application.

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