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Permitted Development Rights to deal with the Covid-19 emergency

Invicta Law’s Nagla Stevens considers recent changes to Permitted Development Rights to deal with the Covid-19 emergency

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Coronavirus) (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 (‘the Coronavirus GDPO 2020’) came into force on 9 April 2020.

The purpose of the Coronavirus GDPO 2020 is to enable local authorities to respond to an emergency situation and manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end the Coronavirus GDPO 2020 allows development, within the meaning of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, that can assist in responding to the spread of Coronavirus.

New time-limited permitted development rights to carry out works and change of use in order to prevent an emergency

The Coronavirus GDPO 2020 introduces a new permitted development right to allow local authorities and certain health bodies to carry out development, both works and change of use, of facilities required in undertaking their roles to respond to the spread of coronavirus, without the requirement to obtain planning permission (‘Local Authority PDRs’) until 31 December 2020.

What could the Local Authorities PDRs potentially be used for?

  • Residential accommodation for persons that need to quarantine or self-isolate;
  • Change of use for existing buildings and new temporary modular buildings;
  • Provision of new Covid-19 testing facilities;
  • Coroner facilities;
  • Mortuaries;
  • Storage and distribution, including for community food hubs;
  • Any other development to enable local authorities to respond to an emergency situation and manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prevention of an emergency

The Local Authority PDRs are granted by the Coronavirus GDPO 2020, where the development is by a local authority or health body on land owned, leased, occupied or maintained by them for the purposes of:-

  • Preventing an emergency;
  • Reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of an emergency; and
  • Taking other action in connection with an emergency.

Provided that development is undertaken in order to prevent an emergency or provided to reduce control or mitigate the effects of an emergency, Local Authority PDRs can be relied on. In this context, an ‘emergency’ means an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom.

The Coronavirus GPDO 2020 defines that an event or situation threatens serious damage to human welfare, only if involves, or may cause:-

  • Loss of human life;
  • Human illness or injury;
  • Homelessness;
  • Damage to property;
  • Disruption of a supply of money, food, water, energy, or fuel;
  • Disruption of a system of communication;
  • Disruption of facilities for transport; or
  • Disruption of services relating to health.

Conditions

The following conditions are imposed by the Coronavirus GPDO 2020:-

  • If the development is not being carried out by the local planning authority, the developer must, as soon as practicable after commencing development, notify the relevant local planning authority of the development;
  • Any use of the land must cease on or before 31 December 2020; and
  • Any building, works, plant, machinery, structure and erection permitted by the Coronavirus GPDO 2020 must be removed and the land restored to its original condition of the use ceasing, or to such other state as the local planning authority may agree in writing, within 12 months of the use ceasing.

Exclusions

The Local Authority PDRs are not available if:-

  • Any of the development forms part of a military explosive storage area;
  • A site of special scientific interest;
  • Any part of the development would be carried out within 5 metres of any boundary of the curtilage of a dwelling house;
  • Moveable structures, works, plan or machinery is required temporarily would be located within 10 meters of any boundary of the curtilage of a dwelling house or within 5 metres of any boundary of the land.

There are also restrictions on new buildings which exceed certain heights and the heights of any existing buildings that are enlarged, improved or altered.

For further advice in respect of planning matters please contact Invicta Law’s Planning and Highways team.

Sarah Bonser: 03000 415863 or Sarah.Bonser@invicta.law.

Nagla Stevens: 03000 415139 or Nagla.Stevens@invicta.law.

 

Disclaimer

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. The article is provided for general information only. If you would like specific advice, please get in touch with Invicta Law Ltd

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