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GPDO – Light Industrial to Residential – Class PA
Sunday 1st October 2017, after 18 months, the world of permitted development rights waits no more: the temporary permitted development right for change of use from light industrial to residential becomes a reality. From Sunday, and for the next three years, changing the use of a light industrial building (or part of a building so used) that is use class B1(c)[1], to residential, use class C3, benefits from a new permitted development right, subject to a prior approval process and various limitations and conditions, of course.  Or more specifically: Class PA – premises in light industrial use to dwellinghouses Development consisting of a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use falling within Class B1(c) (light industrial) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of that Schedule. Here are the exemptions and limitations: The building must have been used solely for light industrial on 19th March 2014 (or when last in use if not in use on or since that date), The prior approval date[2] must be before 1st October 2020; The gross floorspace of the existing building cannot exceed 500 sq.m; If occupied under an agricultural tenancy, express consent of both tenant and landlord is required, No development can begin within one year of terminating an agricultural tenancy if it was terminated for the purpose of changing the use by virtue of Class PA (unless both the tenant and landlord have agreed in writing that the site is no longer required for agricultural purposes), The site cannot be or form part of a site of special scientific interest; safety hazard zone or a military storage area, The building cannot be listed, or be within the curtilage of a listed building; and The site must not be or contain a scheduled monument. As for the application for a determination as to whether prior approval is required, the developer must submit (amongst other things) a statement proving the building was solely in light industrial (B1(c)) use on 19th March 2014 (or when last in use if not in use on that date, and not in use since) – i.e. the lawful use of the building is solely B1(c), and this was the case on 19th March 2014.  The developer must also state the net increase in the number of dwellinghouses proposed. And the local planning authority must consider whether its prior approval is required with regard to: Transport and highways impact on the development Contamination risks Flood risks; and Whether the change of use of the building to residential would have an adverse impact on the sustainability of the provision of industrial and/or storage or distribution services in that area - if the building (or part of a building, if only part is being converted) considered by the LPA as important for provision of those services. Development under class PA, if permitted, is subject to the condition that it be completed within a period of three years starting with the date of prior approval. Details of Class PA are in the April 2016 amendment to the GPDO[3] The Reaction Are we excited/worried about the changes…? Well, in respect of the latter,  LB Southwark clearly are - on Thursday 28th September 2017, they announced consultation on an immediate Article 4 direction[4] removing Class PA permitted development rights in specified locations (Local and Strategic Preferred Industrial Locations and existing and emerging site allocations for comprehensive mixed use development). An immediate Article 4 Direction would open the Council up to potential claims for compensation under the terms of  the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) and the Town and Country Planning (Compensation) (England) Regulations 2015 (as amended). Not a decision taken lightly, I suspect. Others have already used Article 4 Directions, albeit a little while earlier, including LB Hounslow – where an Article 4 Direction comes into force in January 2018, and LB Islington, where it’s already in force, to name but a few. But are these councils right to be cautious, are we about to see a glut of changes of use removing light industrial space from our towns and cities? In my view, probably not. The combination of finding a building that is under 500sqm, that can be proved to be, or to have been solely in B1(c) use and that would not be deemed to impact on the sustainability of the provision of surrounding industrial and  storage uses may be tough. Particularly as the term ‘sustainability’ is not defined in the GPDO and is subject to interpretation (i.e. a matter of fact and degree that the decision-maker can decide). So I don’t imagine an office to residential-style (Class O) style rush. But I suspect a few will test the water early on, perhaps on a par with the right for change of use from retail to residential (Class M). Assuming the Government captures the statistics as they do with other permitted development rights, we’ll find out in the next few quarterly releases how popular it has been. Of course, if you do have a building you think may qualify for this permitted development right, and are interested in finding out more about how you may go about the prior approval process , please don’t hesitate to contact Lichfields. Download Lichfields Use Class Order @OwainNedin Owain.nedin@lichfields.uk   [1] Use Class B1(c): use for any industrial process, being a use which can be carried out in any residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area by reason of noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, soot, ash, dust or grit [2] “prior approval date” is defined in Paragraph X of Part 3 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) and means the date on which— (a) prior approval is given; or (b) a determination that such approval is not required is given or the period for giving such a determination (in this case 56 days) has expired without the applicant being notified whether prior approval is required, given or refused. [3] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/332/made.  [4] http://www.southwark.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-policy-and-transport-policy/article-4-directions?chapter=6&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term Image credit: Arcaid Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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Burnham means business on affordable homes

Burnham means business on affordable homes

Lauren Thompson 28 Jun 2017
My original plan was to write a blog on the outcome of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Mayoral election on 4th May, Andy Burnham’s first month in office and the impact on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework [GMSF]. So much for plans. These seemingly important issues have been completely dwarfed by the horrific terrorist attack that took place at 10:30pm on 22 May 2017 in Manchester. This was without question one of the most challenging scenarios that any public figure can face, particularly so soon after taking office. Prior to the attack, it may not have been obvious to all quite how important the mayoral race was to Manchester’s future, particularly in the context of the snap General Election on 8th June 2017. However, Andy Burnham’s actions in response to  all these events has brought the Mayor’s powers into sharp focus. Whilst not all Greater Manchester residents may be aware, the Mayor has control over the following: Policing: in effect, replacing the Police and Crime Commissioner. Fire service: previously managed on a Council by Council basis. Spatial planning: has a pivotal role in the adoption or otherwise of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. Housing: overseeing the administration of a £300m housing fund. Transport: tasked with road management responsibilities currently managed by TfGM including road safety, bus lanes and congestion as well as influence over bus services, the tram system and cycling schemes. Influence over NHS spending in Greater Manchester. Those that followed the news in the aftermath of the 22 May attack will be aware that Mr Burnham put his autonomous powers as Police and Crime Commissioner into action, regarding information sharing with the US. He was also one of the first public figures to spring into action following the Grenfell Tower fire in London on 14 June 2017, by calling for a meeting with all high-rise landlords to explain how they had to have their buildings safety-checked. Whilst the national press has described the minority Government asgoing from ‘strong and stable’ to ‘weak and wobbly’ in the face of the General Election results and the declining popularity of the Government following the handling of the Grenfell Tower fire, Andy Burnham’s popularity has stood strong. At a time of ongoing uncertainty nationally, Mr Burnham’s appointment does give a sense of stability to Greater Manchester, even though some of his more assertive pledges, e.g. for no net loss of Green Belt, were not popular (particularly as those in the industry don’t think the emerging Plan does enough to provide the homes and jobs Greater Manchester needs). We have already provided a synopsis of the GMSF and our views where we suggest that the GMSF does not go far enough, if the Northern Powerhouse is to succeed as a driver for economic growth in the North of England. However, Andy Burnham’s more strident comments were made when he was in full campaign mode and he has since stated he is broadly happy with the number of homes and jobs proposed. He also remains on board with the concept of the GMSF, unlike his Liberal Democrat opponent. As such, the development industry can breathe a collective sigh of relief that he won’t be throwing the baby out with the bath water any time soon. Moreover, whilst he is proposing to significantly reduce the amount of Green Belt allocations, this is a much watered down version of his ‘no net Green Belt loss’ pledge. Mr Burnham has put Salford’s Mayor Paul Dennett in charge of the Plan re-write, with the stated aim of prioritising affordable housing. However, there has been radio silence since the initial announcement and therefore much second guessing about what format the ‘radically re-written’ plan will look like. There is one matter that is almost certain; Paul Dennett has played a central role in the decisions which led Salford Council to publicly announce their intentions to build new council housing. It is probably no accident that Mr Burnham has appointed Dennett as the portfolio holder for housing, when one of his key pledges is to use the Housing Investment Fund to provide loans to councils and registered providers (RPs) to build affordable homes, including rent-to-own. Nationwide, there has been a trend away from council-owned housing over the last 30 years, with many local authorities opting to transfer their existing housing stock to RPs. It looks like Greater Manchester could be bucking this trend under Andy Burnham’s term. Mr Dennett’s public comments regarding affordable housing also closely align with another of Mr Burnham’s election promises – providing a mix of housing and reducing the perceived over-reliance on executive-style homes. Mr Dennett has previously suggested that the Government’s definition of affordable housing is out of touch with the reality for everyday people. This suggests that a range of low cost housing options could be on the agenda, which could be brought forward on greenfield sites and publicly-owned land. Affordable and low cost housing requirements could end up being toned down for constrained strategic sites and development on brownfield land, as Paul Dennett will be well-aware of the issues surrounding viability and affordability which have plagued many of the housing schemes that have come forward in his own authority’s area over the last few years. This is however conjecture at this stage, as details of the re-write have yet to be announced. Going forward, our view is that: Those initial Green Belt site allocations proposed in the first draft GMSF which do not score so highly on the sustainability appraisal within the integrated approach may be at risk of being removed; Developers should prepare for increased affordable housing requirements on allocated sites and / or providing a broader mix of housing; and, Further delays on the GMSF and final adoption date are almost inevitable. In summary, Andy Burnham has had an exceptionally strong start to his term in office, and others may have had difficulty navigating the challenges he has had to face.  We understand that he has yet to meet with the GMCA which makes it difficult to say with any certainty precisely when he will pick the reins back up. However, this is perhaps understandable given recent tragic events in Manchester and London, which have rightly pulled his attention in a different direction. For bespoke advice on the implications on the latest events regarding the GMSF and up to date information on its progress please contact our Manchester Office on 0161 837 6130.  Image credit: A.P.S. (UK) / Alamy Stock Photo

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