School use class changes flag conversion permission details

The government has launched a consultation which could see disused buildings become schools in time for the 2011-12 academic year.

The coalition's programme for government earlier this year outlined plans to give parents, teachers, charities and communities the right to set up new schools.

A statement for supporting free schools through the planning system was made by communities secretary Eric Pickles in July.

He also outlined his intention to consult on changes to the Use Classes Order to make it easier for buildings currently in other uses to be converted to schools.

The consultation proposals relate to permission for change of use only and will affect those developments that involve purely converting non-school buildings for school use.

Where a school's development requires extra work to an existing building or is a new build, permission will be required in the normal way. Under one option, rights to convert to school use would be restricted to a range of commercial and institutional properties.

The consultation will run for a shortened eight-week period to allow sufficient time for school promoters to obtain properties that can see new free schools run in the next academic year.

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