New demolition and upwards extension permitted development rights will be introduced this month, says Jenrick

New permitted development (PD) rights allowing vacant commercial and residential buildings to be demolished for new housing and individual homes to extend upwards will be introduced "before the summer recess", the housing secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

Pic: Getty Images
Pic: Getty Images

Earlier this week, a statement issued by 10 Downing Street following a speech by the Prime Minister said that builders will no longer need a "normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes".

It also said that property owners "will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation".

In a letter to MPs, sent in the wake of the Prime Minister's announcements, housing secretary Robert Jenrick set out more details on both of these proposals, confirming that they would be introduced via new PD rights.

The letter said the minister intends to "introduce a new permitted development right to encourage regeneration and put empty buildings back to good use".

It states: "The right will allow free-standing vacant and redundant commercial and residential buildings to be demolished – and rebuilt as residential use within the footprint of the existing building.

"I recognise that development in certain locations requires individual consideration and therefore, I propose that the right does not apply, for example, in national parks and conservation areas or to listed buildings."

The move would "serve to bring forward additional much needed homes and boost investment opportunities for the construction industry".

Last week, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published regulations introducing a PD right to allow free-standing blocks of flats to be extended upwards by two storeys to create new homes. The new right will come into force on 1 August.

In addition, to "support the gentle densification of our towns", Jenrick said he would introduce a further PD right to allow upwards extensions of commercial buildings and homes, this time for "home extensions".

The letter states: "Existing buildings in commercial and residential uses will be allowed to construct additional storeys to create new homes or provide space for growing families to extend, making best use of our low-density locations."

It went on to say: "Through this new right, greater certainty will be given to developers and home owners. In return, there will be a requirement to carefully consider both the impact on neighbours and the appearance of the extension."

It added that regulations to "deliver these additional planning freedoms" would be brought forward "before summer recess".

This year, Parliament breaks for the summer on 22 July.

A statement from MHCLG to Planning said the "changes to enable demolition and rebuilding, and 'building up', will be delivered by changing the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015".

Commenting on Linkedin on the demolition PD right, Charles Collins, a planning director at consultancy Savills, said: "Might this now be a perverse incentive simply to abandon a building to erect new residential uncontrolled by any planning control? [The right] will need appropriate design and sustainability standards."

In the same letter, Jenrick also said he wants to create a new "commercial, business and service" use class to help boost town centres.

An analysis article examining the implications of the upwards extension PD right for blocks of flats can be found here.

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