Summary of the latest Permitted Development changes - May 30th
Many of these changes to the GPDO do seem to be unnecessarily complicated and contrived, particularly the
so-called ‘light touch’ consultation regime for larger householder extensions, as hurriedly drawn up by Eric
Pickles in order to secure the passage of the Growth & Infrastructure Act through parliament.
The temporary nature of the increased limits on the size of domestic and commercial extensions is worrying: if
larger extensions will not result in inappropriately designed buildings, then why make them subject to a sunset
clause, particularly when prior approval safeguards have been put in place?
Unlike temporary changes of use, the economic – as opposed to procedural - benefits of allowing larger PD
extensions are not immediately obvious and we will all have to live with the visual environmental consequences of
poorly designed buildings long after the 30th May 2016 sunset disappears over the horizon.
It remains open for individual LPAs to draw up and implement Article 4 Directions – which incidentally no longer
require the Secretary of State’s approval – to negate the increased allowance for householder extensions and/or the
office to residential change of use, as many threatened to do when the initial consultation documents were
circulated last year.
This will particularly apply to the many LPAs that either unsuccessfully petitioned to be exempt from the office
conversion provisions, or where vehement public opposition was expressed to the residential extension proposals,
leading to the threatened revolt by MPs as the Growth & Infrastructure Bill went through its final reading in
the House of Commons.
Planning Minister, Nick Boles, has publically stated that anyone who suggests further changes to the planning
system during the life of this Parliament should be shot. Perhaps he was thinking of his Secretary of State, Eric
Pickles, or Zac Goldsmith and his fellow householder extension rebels in the House of Commons.
Also, he may have forgotten that during 2013 his department will be promoting further amendments to the CIL
Regulations; streamlining of the Appeal Regulations; consolidation of planning guidance following the publication
of The Taylor Report; and the ongoing ‘Red-Tape Challenge’. Politicians inevitably work on short timescales – there
must be an election on the horizon!