Late last year, we were told as part of the “Supporting housing delivery and public service infrastructure” consultation that the government would consolidate and simplify permitted development (PD) rights in England. Following a technical consultation held earlier this year, this consolidation and simplification has now been achieved – the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2021 (SI 2021/814) was published on 9 July 2021 and will come into effect on 1 August 2021.

Why change the GPDO?

These changes have been made primarily to bring the GPDO into line with the changes made last September to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (UCO), when Use Class E (commercial, business and service) was introduced bringing the best part of six use classes under one umbrella – the impact on PD rights of this change had been delayed until now by transitional savings of existing PD rights which expire on 31 July 2021.

The changes also reflect the introduction earlier this year of the new Class MA PD right permitting change of use from Use Class E to residential use.

For further information on the changes to the UCO and the new Class MA PD right see here and here for our previous blog posts.

What are the changes?

Overall, much of the GPDO has not been impacted by the technical changes, although Part 3 (changes of use) and Part 4 (temporary buildings) of Schedule 2 to the GPDO have been greatly simplified.

For those PD rights which have been changed, many have simply been removed from the GPDO altogether, such as Classes B, C, D, E and F of Part 3 of Schedule 2. Others have been updated to refer to the new categories of use classes or sui generis use, for example to reflect that the old Use Classes A4 and A5, and cinemas, concert halls, bingo halls and dance halls, are now sui generis.

However, many PD rights have remained unchanged because there was no need to change them. Also, some changes proposed in the technical consultation have not been implemented, for example Class I of Part 3, Schedule 2 permitting change of use from general industrial (old Use Class B2) to storage and distribution (old Use Class B8) has been retained (although amended to remove the old Use Class B1 (business)).

The effect?

These changes are billed as “technical”, a mere tidying up of the GPDO, but, echoing the impact of new Use Class E and Class MA, the net effect is fundamental. The resulting overall simplification of Parts 3 and 4 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO represents significant deregulation of planning control, as the government intended – their hope is that the simplified UCO and GPDO combined will stimulate development to reinvigorate town centres and boost the delivery of homes.

What next for PD rights?

The government has said that it does not intend to undertake a wholesale review of the GPDO. However, PD rights feature highly in the zoning proposals of the Planning White Paper so we are anticipating that they may play a strong role in the forthcoming Planning Bill.

For further information, please contact us.

Matthew White
Matthew White
Partner and head of UK planning practice, London
+44 20 7466 2461
Fiona Sawyer
Fiona Sawyer
Professional support lawyer, planning, London
+44 20 7466 2674