Ask an Expert! Jonathan Searles, Associate Director - New 2020 Permitted Development Rights Unveiled…

Story posted: 01.09.20

Much has been said regarding the eagerly awaited changes to the Permitted Development Rights that have been around for some time.

It’s fair to say, since 2015 (when they were introduced in their current guise) it has certainly cut down the amount of time it takes for developers to get started with their construction and across the country, thousands of new homes have been brought through - much quicker than before.

Winding the clock forward to September 2020 and further statutory instruments will be introduced to make the process of delivering new homes quicker.

A new Class ZA Permitted Development Right has been introduced which allows for the demolition of certain buildings and for the construction of a single dwelling OR a purpose-built detached block of flats.

Typically, what this new legislation is looking to do, is to revitalise our abandoned town centres, much of which, are run down and un-loved.

There are some exceptions to this legislation which include; any building constructed after 31st December 1989, if the building is listed and the footprint exceeds 1000 sq. meters or 10,000 sq. ft in old money.

Typically, a site of this size would yield on average, a GDV of approximately £4,800,000 in Hertfordshire, so the legislation is very much aimed at the smaller developer looking to build no more than 15 – 20 apartments.

The developer must apply for prior approval and the design, impact of the building, the provision of adequate space and natural light are still key. Some of this was put to one side under the older PD schemes that have been developed over the years.

Home owners are also going to benefit under the revised scheme which previously allowed them to extend by up to 30% of the original footprint of the building. Now you can add two additional storeys, where the original house consists of two storeys or more.

Restrictions to this legislation are:

  • The house had to be constructed before 1st July 1948 or after 28th October 2018.
  • If additional storeys have already been added.
  • Following the development, the height of the highest part of the roof does not exceed 18 metres.

This also applies to the construction of new homes, whereby an application for prior approval will be necessary but this is significantly quicker than applying for full planning permission.

All of this is in addition to the amendment made last month which permitted blocks of flats with at least three storeys to be extended upwards by an a further two storeys. 

In the past, some criticism has been raised at the quality of some schemes that have been constructed under the current Permitted Development Rights, in particular the quality of design, layout, size and access to natural light have been ignored.

Interestingly, the described space standards were only met in 22.1% of properties built under PD, whereas when constructing new build apartments over 70% met the required standards.

Clearly the Government are looking to cut the red tape and in the latest legislative introductions it will do this. Sadly, under the PD rights, development of this nature does not attract any Community Infrastructure Levy or provide affordable housing which is necessary to address the country's overwhelming needs.

Our Land & New Homes Department have identified a number of new sites which we believe will fall within the categories mentioned, so if you are currently looking for sites or have any thoughts, comments or questions regarding the new legislation, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


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