WEA Planning at Martin Goodall’s new book launch event

Thomas Tinel from WEA Planning attended Martin Goodall's event 21 November 2019. The event, held at the institute for Civil Engineers on 1 Great George Street, provided an interesting discussion on the latest changes to permitted development at the occasion of the latest update of Martin Goodall’s Permitted Change of Use. 

The discussion looked at the conversion of agricultural buildings into dwellings under Class Q. This was an opportunity to discuss what the case law considers to be “building operations reasonably necessary” to convert an agricultural building. 

As was discussed during the conference, the conversion of agricultural buildings into dwellings only applies where the existing building “is already suitable for conversion to residential use”. In other words, substantial rebuilding is prohibited and the building must be “capable of functioning as a dwelling”.    

Another hot topic was the definition of “curtilage” that often occurs when dealing with permitted development (ie curtilage of a listed building). As discussed during the seminar, there is no statutory definition of what a curtilage is in planning terms.

The general definition of curtilage is “the land surrounding a building that belongs to the owner of the building and for which he or she has responsibility” (Cambridge Dictionary) but, as is often the case with planning, it is not that simple. It is rather a matter of fact and degree which has to take account the circumstances of the site. 

The key considerations are:

  • The physical layout of the site
  • The ownership of the land
  • The use(s) of the land
  • Whether the land or structure is ancillary to a main building
  • The date of the assessment of the curtilage
  • Existing enclosures

The conference ended with a discussion about potential future changes to Permitted Development. 

It seems that the government will not extend Class PA (change of use from light industrial buildings to residential) and will allow it to lapse on 1st October 2020. Watch this space. 

Following the recent controversy with Class O (change of use of offices to residential) about the poor quality of approved developments, the government seems to be considering the introduction of size thresholds, adding requirements for amenity space and internal room standards. 

Lastly, the government will most likely merge Classes A1 (retail) and A2 (professional services) into one single Class, to simplify and clarify permitted developments.

We will keep you updated as we get more information about the upcoming important changes.

Article written by Thomas Tinel. 


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