The insertion of a new Part 12A of Class A into Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 was laid before Parliament on 8 April 2020. The Order came into force the very next day at 10am on 9 April.
The new right is subject to limitations and conditions but means that development which falls within those controls is permitted without the need to apply for an express planning permission. The new right permits local authorities and certain health service bodies to carry out development on land owned, leased, occupied or maintained by them for the purposes of preventing, reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of; or taking other action in connection with, an emergency. The term ‘emergency’ is broadly defined as ‘an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom.’
As set out in the Explanatory Memorandum, this new right will allow local authorities and health service bodies to carry out development which could include, but not be limited to, the change of use of existing buildings such as conference facilities and university buildings or structures to provide health facilities such as temporary hospitals, coroner facilities, mortuaries and testing units without the need to apply for planning permission.
The Order sets out a number of circumstances in which development will not be permitted. This includes where any part of the development would be carried out: on a site of special scientific interest or a scheduled monument; within 5 metres of the boundary of the curtilage of a dwelling house; and where the development would exceed certain specified height limits. There is no need to obtain the prior approval of the local planning authority in order to rely on this new permitted development right, but it must be notified of the development as soon as practicable after commencement.
The new right is temporary in nature, meaning the use will need to cease on or before 31 December 2020 unless express planning permission is obtained. There is also a requirement for the land to be restored to its former condition (or such other state agreed in writing with the local planning authority) within 12 months of the use ending.
This new permitted development right does not negate the need to obtain any listed building consent which would ordinarily be required.