News

Marrons Planning launches urban design with new associate director hire

Midlands planning consultancy Marrons Planning has extended its portfolio of services with the appointment of architect and urban design expert Alex Craggs.

Specialising in bespoke residential projects and master planning urban design schemes, RIBA chartered architect Alex will take the role of associate director and be heading up the new Marrons Urban Design service, which will complement the consultancy’s existing planning services: including planning applications and appeals as well as promoting developments and planning strategy.

With more than 10 years’ experience working with a range of clients from strategic land promoters and developers to private clients and home owners, Alex will be responsible for setting up the new service line and growing the team in the future.

Andy Gore, Partner at Marrons Planning, said: “This is a really exciting new venture for Marrons Planning and one that will allow us to provide illustrative layouts, design and access statements, promotion documents, concept plans and more.

“We’re well known for providing planning advice that helps inform our clients’ decision making process, driving projects forward and using our close working relationships with Local Planning Authorities to help unlock strategic sites; but now we will also be able to provide our clients with brilliant designs that are underpinned by a deep understanding of commercial complexities, local authority requirements and planning strategy.

“We’re thrilled to have Alex join our team.

Alex has experience working in a variety of sectors including residential, conservation, mixed-use, commercial and leisure, taking projects from inception through to completion.

Alex, who was previously associate director for BHB Architects said: “I was attracted to Marrons Planning because of their enthusiasm and track record in gaining successful outcomes for their clients. I’m excited to bring design expertise to Marrons Planning to allow them to offer their clients a high quality design offering in conjunction with their established planning services.

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Marrons Planning has been recognised at prestigious planning industry awards

Our planning consultancy team Marrons Planning, alongside Leicester City Council, has been highly commended in the category for Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy at the national Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2021.

They received the commendation at last night’s virtual awards for their involvement in the Great Central Square project in Leicester.

The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry. Running for over 40 years, they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.

Great Central Square is a £60m regeneration scheme connecting the Waterside area of Leicester to the heart of the city centre. The scheme comprises two hotels, 33,000 sq. ft. of Class A office space and the refurbishment of the former Great Central Railway Station to 20,000 sq. ft. of leisure space. The scheme includes a pedestrian super-crossing and public open realm and occupies one of the most prominent positions in Leicester city centre, directly opposite John Lewis and Highcross Shopping Centre. It has been a catalyst for a £200m regeneration renaissance in the city and its delivery is a great exemplar of public and private sector co-operation.

Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy

The award for ‘Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy’ recognises projects that support and promote a successful prosperous economy.

On awarding Marrons Planning and Leicester City Council with the commendation the judges said:

“They were impressed by the development of this long standing brownfield site in the Leicester city centre. The project kept multiplier value in the local area by keeping the majority of investment within a 30 mile radius of the site and provided apprenticeships, employment and training. The judges were impressed by the community benefit of the project.”

Commenting on the recognition, Brian Mullin, head of Marrons Planning, said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled that the team has been endorsed by our RTPI peers, especially at national level, and being up against some excellent projects. This achievement is a fantastic acknowledgement of the contribution that Marrons Planning and Leicester City Council has made to the city, as well as recognising the value of working partnerships with the public sector.

“The team are worthy winners and we are all very proud of the positive difference our work makes to help transform local communities, environments and economies.”

Planning Consultancy of the Year finalist

In addition for being commended for our work on Great Central Square, Marrons Planning was also recognised as a finalist in the prestigious national award for ‘Planning Consultancy of the Year’.  This follows being named as the winners of the coveted award at the regional East Midlands awards back in November 2020.

On being recognised as finalists at the national awards Brian Mullin said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled that the team has been endorsed by our national RTPI peers. As a firm we are proud and fortunate to have a team with great depth and superb technical knowledge who strive to consistently deliver excellent results by understanding our clients’ objectives and building lasting relationships.”

Read more about Marrons Planning and how we can help our clients plan for every eventuality.

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Guides & Advice

National Design Code: What is ‘beautiful’?

With new priorities for both the government and homeowners triggered by the pandemic, the planning sector has had to adapt. To meet these changes, the government has issued a 10-point plan to improve living standards, named the National Design Code. This forms part of the Planning Practice Guidance. It aims to help developers reach higher liveability standards and create ‘beautiful’ homes in thriving communities.

The Design Guide illustrates how well designed places that are beautiful, greener, enduring and successful can be achieved in practice. However, what does ‘beautiful’ really mean, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of this new code?

What is the National Design Code?

The National Design Code outlines 10 points for developers to follow when designing a home. The two main focuses are quality and sustainable building. However, it also highlights the need to keep properties in tune with local communities as well as create homes that meet peoples’ evolving needs.

Each of the 10 principles shows what the government’s goals are for properties in the coming years. They are:

 

  • Lifespan – Creating homes that are made to last.
  • Context – Enhancing the location and taking advantage of local characteristics.
  • Identity – Making every home attractive and distinctive.
  • Built form – Considering surroundings to create a coherent development.
  • Movement – Making accessibility a key feature.
  • Nature – Enhancing nature and green spaces.
  • Public spaces – Creating a place with the community at its heart, offering a range of social areas.
  • Uses – Mixed use of the land.
  • Homes and building – Building for tomorrow, with functionality and sustainability in mind.
  • Resources – Using resources efficiently to maximise their uses.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

The ambitious framework discusses ‘beautiful’ places. Beauty is, of course,  a subjective quality. However, according to the government’s chief architect, a beautiful home will be one that perfectly addresses the 10-points outlined.

Beauty may be subjective, but quality is not. Perhaps using the Code as a base to design on will be the best use of the framework, giving projects direction without forcing designers to lose their flair.

What are the pros and cons?

The major pros of the proposed National Design Code include the emphasis on the role that local authorities and communities play in the design of places, and the clear framework that it provides to house designers.

On the other hand, the emphasis on local culture could be a difficult goal to achieve. Councils will have varying aspects they would like to focus on and different resources available, so it may be a challenge for developers to reach a finalised plan that ticks every box.

There’s also the possibility that the framework could force developers to ‘design by numbers’, creating housing developments with little personality.

Although the National Design Code provides developers with a great foundation, it’s important for designers to bear in mind that ‘beauty’ is subjective. However, by building on the 10 points and working closely with local authorities, developers will be able to achieve the results desired by both the government and homeowners.

Watch our free webinar, with an expert guest panel, on whether the proposed changes will make a positive impact.

Contact us

For any further information contact Richard Cooke or David Pendle in our dedicated planning consultancy team, Marrons Planning.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your business out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.  

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Women in Planning mentoring scheme launches for International Women’s Day 2021

Women in Planning is launching a mentoring scheme today (8 March) to coincide with International Women’s Day. The scheme aims to bring together individuals who are seeking support and guidance on their career development from more experienced professionals.

The aim is to ‘buddy up’ mentor and mentees with the best fit in the matching process.  Applications are open to all those working within the planning sector, from students through to those working in the boardroom.

Women in Planning leads change in the planning and built environment industry by making women visible, promoting diversity and inclusion, and supporting career development - and the mentoring scheme enables them to meet this objective.

Kylie Wesson, legal director in our planning team, sits on the East Midlands Women in Planning Committee. Commenting on the launch of the scheme Kylie said:

“The mentoring scheme working group, made up of the East and West Midlands committees, has been collaborating throughout the pandemic to launch this initiative. We wanted to focus on how best to support less experienced members and those looking to develop their careers, not only during this difficult time but even more so with the challenging times ahead.”

Jessica Herritty, Chair of the East Midlands Committee said:

“We are really excited to launch the Scheme on International Women’s Day and hope it will provide meaningful connections and support for people in our network over the course of the next year.”

Emma Cartledge-Taylor, Chair of the West Midlands Committee said:

“Women in Planning was set up to empower women and support them throughout their careers. We are passionate about the Scheme and it is fantastic extension of that promise and will contribute to this year’s theme of ‘Choose to Challenge’.”

Contact us  

To find out more about the scheme please contact Kylie Wesson.

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Marrons Planning shortlisted as finalists for two awards at the national RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2021

Finalist

Following on from Marron Planning’s win at the RTPI East Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence in November 2020, the team has been shortlisted for Planning Consultancy of the Year at the national RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence, taking place later this year.

Marrons Planning have also successfully partnered with Leicester City Council to be shortlisted as finalists in the Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy category, being recognised for their work on the £60m regeneration scheme of Great Central Square at Vaughan Way in Leicester.

View the full list of all the shortlisted firms and projects.

The national RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence

The awards have been running for over 40 years and celebrate the exceptional work undertaken by town planners across the country. This year the awards will also showcase and recognise planners’ commitment to supporting the challenges faced by communities as a result of the pandemic

The ‘Planning Consultancy of the Year’ award recognises the achievements of planning consultancies that have demonstrated high levels of service, commitment to sustainable development and support for the planning profession.

The ‘Award for Excellence in Planning Practice’ recognises those projects that promote and support a successful prosperous economy.

Great Central Square is a high-quality £60m regeneration scheme, occupying one of the most prominent positions in Leicester city centre. The project has been a catalyst for a £200m regeneration renaissance in the city. The scheme comprises two hotels, 33,000 sq. ft. of Class A office space and the refurbishment of the locally listed former Great Central Railway Station to 20,000 sq. ft. of leisure space. A pedestrian super-crossing also connects the Waterside area of Leicester to the heart of the city centre.

Commenting on being shortlisted as a finalist in two categories, Brian Mullin, head of Marrons Planning, said:

“Marrons Planning are delighted to be shortlisted for ‘Planning Consultancy of the Year’, and together with Leicester City Council, to be shortlisted for ‘Excellence in Planning Practice’ too for our work to deliver Great Central Square in Leicester.

“The last year has been a tough time for everyone. We have taken much strength from supporting each other across the public and private sectors and the RTPI has provided a valuable platform to foster and celebrate that collaboration.”

The winners will be announced via a virtual ceremony on 29 April.

Read more about Marrons Planning and how we can help our clients plan for every eventuality.

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Blog

Marrons Planning win the double at the RTPI East Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence

We’re delighted that Marrons Planning has won not one, but two, awards at this year’s RTPI East Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence.

As well as being named Planning Consultancy of the Year 2020, the team were also presented the Award for Excellence in Planning Practice alongside Leicester City Council for our involvement in the Great Central Square project in Leicester. 

The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence are the longest-running and most high-profile awards in the planning industry. For over 40 years they have recognised the achievements and celebrated projects, plans and people who have helped create exceptional and improved places to live and work. 

The coveted ‘Planning Consultancy of the Year’ award recognises the achievements of planning consultancies that have demonstrated high levels of service, commitment to sustainable development and support for the planning profession. 

On awarding Marrons Planning with the prestigious award, the judges acknowledged that the team “demonstrated exemplar commitment to supporting and developing their people. 

The ‘Award for Excellence in Planning Practice’ recognises those projects that promote and support a successful prosperous economy.  

Great Central Square is a £60m regeneration scheme connecting the Waterside area of Leicester to the heart of the City Centre. The scheme comprises two hotels, 33,000 sq. ft. of Class A office space and the refurbishment of the locally listed former Great Central Railway Station to 20,000 sq. ft. of leisure space. The scheme includes a pedestrian super-crossing and public open realm and occupies one of the most prominent positions in Leicester City centre, directly opposite John Lewis and Highcross Shopping Centre. The project has been a catalyst for a £200m regeneration renaissance in the city. 

On announcing Marrons Planning and Leicester City Council as the winners of the award, the judges noted the key winning aspects of the project were the huge benefit it will bring to the community and the use of trialling new build techniques such as modular construction. The judges also praised the approach taken to build for owner-occupiers and multi-decade leases as an excellent example ensuring good place making.” 

Sir Peter Soulsby, Mayor of Leicester...

This is well deserved recognition for an excellent scheme that is the result of close partnership working between the developer Charles Street Buildings, their consultants Marrons Planning and our own expert staff here at the council.

“It is another example of how the regeneration of Leicester’s Waterside is attracting developers and investors to help realise our ambitious vision for this important part of the city.

“The resulting scheme – and in particular the wonderful restoration of the former Great Central station – is something very special indeed.

Also commenting on the win, Brian Mullinhead of Marrons Planning, said: 

“I’m absolutely thrilled that the team has been endorsed by our RTPI peers with these awards. Any firm is only as good as its people and we are fortunate to have team with great depth and superb technical knowledge, who strive to understand their client objectives, build lasting relationships and consistently deliver excellent results.” 

 “The achievement of winning two awards is an acknowledgement of the contribution that the whole team has made and, in the case of Great Central Square, the value of our working partnership with the public sector. The team are worthy winners and we are very proud of the positive work we do helping to transform economies, environments and communities. 

Read more about Marrons Planning and how we can help our clients plan for every eventuality. 

 

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Guides & Advice

Building for a Healthy Life: putting wellbeing at the forefront of housing

Building for a Healthy Life: putting wellbeing at the forefront of housing

Lockdown has highlighted that the UK housing crisis isn’t purely about quantity, it’s also about quality. A form of revolution is needed, with developers adding residents’ wellbeing to their priority lists, as well as speed.

Luckily, the recent launch of ‘Building for a Healthy Life’ (BHL) could be the answer.

Read the Building for a Healthier life toolkit publication here.

The impact of unsuitable housing

Well-lit private spaces and nearby green areas are no longer added extras, they are necessities. For the many people who live in urban areas with limited access to these, the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, having stopped them from being able to escape their four walls.

Space saving is often the main focus for city developments, ensuring maximum capacity in a minimal area. However, this approach doesn’t consider wellbeing and instead relies on residents being able to leave to meet their wider basic needs.

This one-size-fits all approach to the housing crisis is not an effective solution, and it’s time to try something new.

What is Building for a Healthier Life (BHL)?

Backed by Homes England, BHL has been created to replace ‘Building for Life 12’ (Bfl 12). Simply put, the goal of these new guidelines is to encourage housing developers to weave health and wellbeing into their plans.

BHL’s predecessor, BfL 12, was made up of 12 set questions designed to help assess the quality of housing schemes. Aspects such as facilities, tenure types and private spaces were covered, but many used it as a quick tick-box system, rather than truly considering how they could improve their sites.

However, BHL appears to have moved away from this question and answer process.

‘How-to’ guides for healthy spaces

The purpose of BHL is for architects and planners to submit evidence that shows exactly how wellbeing elements are to be implemented.

By providing visual aids that act as “how to” guides for healthy spaces, BHL enables developers to pick and choose the design cues that they feel would benefit their own housing schemes.

Wellbeing considerations

There is one thing that BHL has taken from BfL 12, and that is the idea of having 12 main considerations for developers. These have been split into three categories:

  • Integrated neighbourhoods;
  • Distinctive places; and
  • Streets for all.

Individual elements include ‘homes for everyone’, ‘well defined streets and spaces’ and ‘green and blue infrastructure’.

Each element should be taken in context with the development, rather than followed as a checklist, to ensure the result will fully benefit all residents.

Building long-term housing is essential

In future, decision makers must ensure that wellbeing considerations are included in development plans wherever possible. Although speed is still necessary to tackle the housing crisis, homes built for the long-term must become part of the solution. Hopefully, BHL and the pandemic will lead to more developers building with health in mind.

Helping you to achieve the best outcome

If you’re in the early stages of a development, we can help you to utilise the toolkit. Our team of specialist town and country planners will guide you through the process and work alongside you to demonstrate to the decision-maker why your scheme has been designed in a specific manner.

Contact us

For advice and support on how you can use BHL to your advantage, or any other planning query, contact Sachin Parmar  and Brian Mullin in our planning consultancy team Marrons Planning.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

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Guide

Use Classes | Change of Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order

Use Classes | Change of Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order

Last week the government announced significant changes to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order, which could radically alter the appearance of towns and cities across the country.

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 proposes the amalgamation of a number of existing use classes into new wider use classes.

Our handy one-page guide outlines the changes to the use classes order in England.

This is significant because, in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, planning permission is only required for a “material change of use” and as such, changes of use which fall within the same overarching use class will be permitted without the need for an express grant of planning permission.

What this will mean is that local planning authorities will not be able to control the changing nature of commercial buildings, with owners and occupiers having far greater flexibility in what they choose to do with their units.

Read our blog on how redundant commercial buildings can be repurposed into new homes without planning permission.

The broader categories will also potentially allow for greater subdivision of premises, with different users occupying the same space all operating under the umbrella of an overarching use class.

What are the changes?

The changes, which come in to force on 1 September 2020, will create two new uses classes:

  • Class E - commercial, business and service; and
  • Class F
    • Class F.1 (learning and non-residential institutions); and
    • Class F.2 (local community).

It also moves some uses that were previously covered by the use classes order (and which benefitted from certain permitted changes) into the list of uses which cannot be included in a specified class.

Class E will comprise the previous shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), restaurants and cafes (A3) and offices (B1), together with uses such as gyms, nurseries and health centres (D1 and D2).

The new Learning and non-residential institutions class (F1) will include former D1 uses, which are more likely to involve buildings in wider public use such as school, libraries and art galleries.

Local community uses (Class F2) will include former D2 uses, which provide for group activities of a physical nature such as swimming pools, skating rinks and areas for outdoor sports.  It also includes smaller shops serving local communities.

Residential uses (Class C), general industrial (B2) and storage and distribution (B8) remain unchanged

The previous separate categories for drinking establishments (A4) and hot food takeaways (A5) are removed, and those uses will thereafter be classified as sui generis.  The same will also apply to cinemas, concert, dance and bingo halls (which were previously within class D2).

Transitional arrangements

As of 1 September, there will be some transitional arrangements in place to allow for the use of historic permitted changes, however, these will only be in place until 31 July 2021.  The same is true of relevant Article 4 directions.

Take action now

Our handy one-page guide sets out the planned changes to the use of classes from 1 September 2020. If you are looking at taking on, or converting, a building you should double check the new regulations, as it may be that the new proposals make it easier (or in some cases harder) to change the existing use.  Equally, when considering letting properties, landlords will want to have regard to the types of uses they are willing to accept in their buildings.

Contact us

For advice and support on how these changes may affect your developments, or any other legal planning query, contact Paul Wakefield in our planning team.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

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Agriculture: diversifying or leasing your land to create habitat banks

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Opinion

New planning law | Redundant commercial buildings can be repurposed into new homes without planning permission

New planning law | Redundant commercial buildings can be repurposed into new homes without planning permission

Build, build, build” was the phrase used by Boris Johnson last month as reforms were promised to get the nation building more “fantastic new homes on brownfield sites’”.

However, before you can ‘build, build, build’, you need to get planning permission - and that is still too often a hurdle which prevents the delivery of much needed new homes.

What are the proposed changes to planning laws?

Councils have often rolled out planning policies protecting ‘employment land’ from housing, even when it is no longer commercially viable.  They’ve also often sought to apply the same burdensome Section 106 obligations and standards to sites where viability is marginal.

However, such restrictions are to be swept away as the Government are stepping in with the promise of allowing the demolition and rebuilding of vacant and redundant commercial buildings for new homes without requiring planning permission.

Well, almost…. There is still a ‘prior approval process’ to be obtained from the Councils.  Issues such as design, noise, traffic, parking, and amenity will therefore still need to be addressed as the Government wish to achieve quality and avoid the criticisms of its approach to allowing conversions of commercial buildings under this approach.

But critically, buildings must have been "entirely vacant for at least six months prior to the date of the application for prior approval", and built before 1 January 1990.  In addition, the new building cannot be larger than the footprint of the existing building and cannot exceed a maximum footprint of 1,000 square metres.

That clearly reduces the effectiveness of this option for some sites, however it may still provide a useful ‘fall-back’ argument with the Council and could enable a phased approach to site redevelopment.

Contact us
For advice and support on how you can use this new measure to your advantage, or any other planning query, contact Gary Stephens in our planning consultancy team Marrons Planning.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

SHMA® ON DEMAND

Listen to our SHMA® ON DEMAND content covering a broad range of topics to help support you and your business.

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How can we help?

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Guides & Advice

New permitted development rights | Additional storeys can be built on top of existing blocks of flats

New permitted development rights | Additional storeys can be built on top of existing blocks of flats

From 1 August 2020, a new permitted development right is being introduced, allowing an additional one or two storeys to be constructed on top of existing blocks of flats.

This is alongside engineering operations, replacement or installation of additional plant, construction of safe access and egress and construction of ancillary facilities, where necessary.    

The ‘upward extension’ measure is being introduced with the aim of increasing housing delivery across the country in a bid to protect ‘greenfield’ land.  

What are permitted development rights? 

Permitted development rights allow you to make certain changes to a building without needing to apply for planning permission.  

Are there any restrictions? 

The permitted development right is limited in the buildings in which it can be applied to. The right will only apply to blocks of flats that: 

  • are detached; 
  • are at least 3 storeys in heightand 
  • were constructed between 1 July 1948 and 5 March 2018. 

It is important to note that the right does not apply to listed buildings, scheduled monuments or buildings within the curtilage of such. Nor does it apply to buildings within Conservation Areas, National Parks and the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, or sites of special scientific interest.  

If buildings do fulfil all of the criteria above, then an ‘upward extension’ can be built under permitted development. There are, however, still restrictions on what can be built out.  

A full copy of the legislation can be found here. 

To summarise, the restrictions are as follows: 

  • The extension has to be constructed on the principal part of the building; 
  • The extension cannot exceed 30 metres in height;
  • The overall roof height of the extension cannot be more than seven metres higher than the highest part of the existing roof; and 
  • The internal ceiling height of each storey cannot exceed three metres, OR more than the floor to ceiling height of any of the existing storeys (whichever is the lesser height). 

Prior approval 

 An application for prior approval will have to be made to the Council, accompanied by comprehensive floor plans and elevations. Submitting these details will satisfy the council that the design of the proposals is acceptable, in addition to adequate light being achievable. The council will then have eight weeks to determine the prior approval application. 

Contact us

For advice and support on the new ‘upward extension’ permitted development rights, or any other planning query, contactBrian Mullin orLizzie Beresfordin our planning consultancy team,Marrons Planning. 

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

SHMA® ON DEMAND

Listen to our SHMA® ON DEMAND content covering a broad range of topics to help support you and your business.

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Peter Snodgrass, Partner & Head of Agriculture
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Guides & Advice

COVID-19 - Permitted development rights

COVID-19 - Permitted development rights

Recent amendments have been made to planning legislation by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Coronavirus) (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 No.412 to allow emergency development by a local authority or health service body. This came into force on 9 April 2020.

The legislation defines a ‘health service body’ to include NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts. There are geographical, spatial and height restrictions where development is not permitted, but it otherwise allows NHS Trusts to undertake development for the purposes of preventing an emergency, reducing/controlling/mitigating the effects of an emergency or taking other action in connection with an emergency. For example, providing testing tents, new buildings and enlarging existing buildings in the Covid-19 crisis.

The right is subject to a condition that any operational development is removed and the land restored within 12 months from the permitted use ceasing.

A full copy of the legislation can be found here.

When do the permitted development rights not apply?

  • If any part of the development is on land, which is a military explosive storage area, a site of special scientific Interest (SSSI) or contains a scheduled monument.
  • If any part of the development would be carried out within five metres of any boundary of a dwellinghouse.
  • If any part of the new building is within ten metres of any boundary and the height exceeds six metres. The same height restrictions also apply to additions or enlargements to existing buildings.
  • If the heights of any new buildings exceed the height of the highest part of the roof of the original building, or a height of 18 metres, whichever is greater. The same height restrictions also apply to additions or enlargements to existing buildings - If any moveable structure, works, plant or machinery required temporarily are located in a position within ten metres of the curtilage of a dwellinghouse, or within five metres of the site boundary.

It is important to remember that any development close to the site boundary, or close to residential dwellings, will trigger the requirement for a planning application.

NHS Trusts should be made aware that the Local Planning Authority must be notified following commencement of any permitted development.

Contact us
For advice and support to carry out development for the purpose of tackling the COVID-19 crisis, or any other planning query, contact Brian Mullin or Sachin Parmar in our planning consultancy team, Marrons Planning.

Shakespeare Martineau has launched a free legal helpline offering bespoke guidance on a range of subjects from employment and general business matters, through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

General advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.

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This is no different for the land and planning industry with landowners, developers and strategic land directors looking to keep our projects moving with business as usual as it can be in an unusual world.

Having worked for Melton Borough Council in 2008, when our office was destroyed by fire, I know first-hand how local authorities respond to emergencies: they implement emergency planning processes and business continuity plans. Resources are redeployed to meet the immediate priority needs of the public.

The current situation will see councils quite rightly focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable members of our communities and trying to find a way to deliver services from the homes of their officers will be a competing priority.

What’s been the impact of coronavirus on planning so far?

In addition to the redistribution of staff support, home working and social distancing has caused a number of issues for local authorities and planning committees.

The Government’s Chief Planner has written to local authority Chief Planning Officers to call for pragmatism and practicality and a number of councils are doing sterling work to deliver their local planning authority business without seemingly missing a beat.

While many of the larger councils are agile, some are affected by a lack of technology and staff are unable to set up home working. A number of local planning authorities have signalled delays to local plans or phone calls and emails go unanswered. If we are fortunate enough to get an audience with our local authority planning teams, it is imperative that we make the most of the opportunity.

The typical age profile of committee members also makes a large number highly vulnerable to the virus and thus are self-isolating. Stories are emerging of planning committees being cancelled or run with the minimum number required to be quorate. For some councils the recent lockdown has also taken in-person meetings off the table too.

New legislation for virtual committee meetings is promised. This and a concerted push towards the technology for virtual officer meetings will be needed to recover and maintain progress. The early signs are that some councils have moved swiftly to meet this challenge and while nobody wishes to supplant the priority of looking after the vulnerable we might expect to see more local planning authorities tackling these challenges in the days and weeks to come.

What is the likely impact of coronavirus on development projects and planning applications?

In the immediate future we are likely to see local plan milestones pass without plans being published for consultation or committee decisions being made. For those projects at the planning application stage we are also likely to start seeing an increase in ‘extension of time’ requests as it becomes difficult for councils to meet their targets. Together with reduced contact from local planning authorities this might be an uncertain and frustrating time for planning projects.

What can I do to keep my planning proposal moving during UK lockdown?

The likelihood of long or protracted negotiations is slim. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that we have positive, efficient and effective relationships with local authority planning teams and do everything we can to support them towards delivering their service and streamline the application process.

  1. Attention to detail

Now is the time to get our projects in good health with clear reports that encourage straight forward discussion and processing. This could make the difference between a smooth and swift process and a major delay.

  1. Be clear on the red-lines

In a world where negotiation likely has fewer phases, it is important to be clear about the will and will nots. To-ing and fro-ing on negotiations is now a luxury projects can ill-afford.

  1. Make quick decisions

Time with the local authority planning teams will be at a greater premium than ever before. If there is a chance to agree a way forward we will need to make those decisions quickly and efficiently, preferably at the point the opportunity presents itself. A strategy of regroup and rethink might mean it is a while before we have an opportunity to meet with planners again and move projects forward.

We’re all in this together, and in these unprecedented times we must recognise and respect the challenges being faced by others in order to keep us all moving forward.

For legal planning advice contact the Marrons Planning team.

All the latest views and insights on COVID-19 (coronavirus)