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Architect Bulletin - July 2021

Published: Monday, 26th July 2021

Featuring: The Community Hub from the Planning Portal; Planning Portal changes on Friday 30 July 2021

Planning Portal are pleased to announce the launch of the Planning Portal Community Hub, the online interactive platform providing networking opportunities, industry insight and virtual events. You can register for your account here.

Using the latest technology, The Community Hub provides all users with industry-specific news from architects, planning consultants, developers, governing bodies and industry membership organisations, along with targeted networking opportunities tailored to your interests and areas of speciality.

Using integrated algorithms, the system works to pair you up with other delegates, speakers, sessions, products and exhibitors that will be of interest to you, allowing you to ‘meet’, schedule meetings and start new conversations.

More than just a news site
Alongside the dedicated news streams, we will be hosting all future virtual events, conferences, webinars and round table discussions on the platform. It also has a wealth of previously broadcast content, including the entire series of our ‘Planning Portal: Past, Present and Future’ webinars and recordings from last year’s virtual conference.

Join us today
The Community Hub is free for all to join, you just need to register your details and you will have full access to the site content, including networking, on demand content and the latest news.

If you have registered for the Planning Portal Annual Conference, your preferences will already be saved in The Community Hub, simply click register, and enter your email address and it will populate all your Annual Conference registration details. Then just proceed to activate, and your login and password will be the same. If you are yet to register for this year’s conference you can do so here.

Have you listed your business?
Listing your business and joining the Marketplace on The Community Hub will bring with it many benefits. Your organisation will be prominent at all events – including the Planning Portal Annual Conference, webinars and round table discussions hosted on The Community Hub. Your organisation will be able to post unlimited news and content, all of which will all be SEO-enabled and will benefit from the Planning Portal’s domain authority.

In addition, you will be notified of all interactions with your business profile and be able to engage with the registered users of The Community Hub via messaging or even a scheduled video call.

We have three packages available, including an introductory launch offer, alongside sponsorship opportunities for one day events, webinars and round table discussions. If you would like more information, please contact community@planningportal.co.uk.

Following on from our previous blog post and webinar on changes to legislation that will affect certain applications from 1 August, we are pleased to provide additional detail on the changes we are making to our content and services to maintain legislative compliance, and to think about what that might mean for our public, professional and Local Authority users.

The changes to the application service will be applied after business hours on Friday 30 July to ensure that they are in place for any applications made from that point onward (which would count as being received by a Local Authority on the next working day – Monday 2 August)

Changes to our content may be applied sooner but will, where relevant, reference the date they take effect.

Changes to permitted development and affecting prior approval applications

New types of Prior Approval

Two new fillable PDF forms will be made available for applications to determine if prior approval is required for proposed:

  • Change of use - commercial/business/service to dwellinghouses
  • Change of use - commercial/business/service/etc to mixed use including up to two flats

This is an interim measure until we add them, and the others currently provided in this manner, to our new platform.

Current types of Prior Approval

Updates will be made to the following application types to ensure legislative compliance and, where relevant, to allow applications to be made for proposals classified as ‘protected development’ under the provisions of the legislative changes (see below).

Applications for prior approval of proposed:

  • New dwellinghouses on detached blocks of flats
  • New dwellinghouses on detached buildings in commercial or mixed use
  • New dwellinghouses on terrace buildings in commercial or mixed use
  • New dwellinghouses on terrace buildings in use as dwellinghouses
  • New dwellinghouses on detached buildings in use as dwellinghouses
  • Enlargement of a dwellinghouse by construction of additional storeys

Applications to determine if prior approval is required for proposed:

  • Change of use – takeaway/sui generis/mixed use to dwellinghouses
  • Change of use - agriculture to flexible commercial use
  • Change of use - agriculture to state-funded school
  • Change of use - commercial/business/service/hotels/etc to state-funded school

Outdated types of Prior Approval

The following prior approval types will be retained for the specific purpose of allowing applications to be made for proposals classified as ‘protected development’ under the provisions of the legislative changes (see below).

Applications to determine if prior approval is required for proposed:

  • Change of use - retail to assembly/leisure
  • Change of use - retail/takeaway to offices

Finally, there are three types of prior approval that are no longer valid and should not be used. We will initially mark these as such, and plan to implement a subsequent change to stop them being created or submitted.

Applications to determine if prior approval is required for proposed:

  • Change of use - retail to restaurant/café
  • Change of use - offices to dwellinghouses
  • Change of use - light industrial to dwellinghouses

How do I know what’s changed, and what do I need to do?

On our website, content referring to permitted development and use classes will be updated to cover off the changes.

When you start an application, there will be warnings when you choose the type you need:

  • a prefix in the drop-down list; or
  • more detailed information in our guided options if you ‘need help choosing’.

When working on draft applications:

  • In the eligibility question for each affected Prior Approval application type, there will be prominent messaging to cover off what has changed and the options available to you. 
  • Where questions are different or no longer relevant, this will be reflected or called out specifically in their content.

We strongly recommend a review of the ‘Eligibility’ and ‘Description…’ questions for draft prior approval applications before submission, even if those sections are marked as ‘complete’.

‘Protected development’ provision

Alongside other ‘transitional provisions’ in the amendments that delineate between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ in regard to changes of use that either no longer constitute development (i.e. where the change of use will be wholly within the same Use Class) or that are subject to more/less/different conditions (e.g. that now or no longer require a prior approval application) there is also a provision for proposals that were, but will no longer be, permitted development.

In these circumstances, the provision classifies these as ‘protected development’ to ensure that for a further year, until the end of July 2022, they can continue to be considered eligible for permitted development rights.

This is achieved by allowing ‘protected development’ proposals to utilise the legislation as it stood prior to the August 2021 changes.

By doing so, it will allow these proposals to begin (or for relevant prior approval applications to be submitted) up to the end of July 2022, and be progressed to completion on that basis.

My proposal is ‘protected development’, what should I do?

The Planning Portal content and application service has been updated to comply with the August 2021 permitted development changes.

However, we also recognise that certain proposals will qualify for the ‘protected development’ provision.

As per our general advice, it is recommended you discuss your proposals with the Local Planning Authority, in this case, to confirm if the ‘protected development’ provision applies.

If it does, and an application for prior approval needs to be made, we are covering this off in the content of our prior approval applications as well as maintaining several redundant types of prior approval application that can continue to be used in such cases.

Changes to ensure consideration of Fire Safety at the planning stage

Legislation is being put in place to ensure that applications for relevant buildings provide the Local Authority with information of sufficient quality (in terms of the professional competence of the provider) and detail to ensure proper consideration and integration of fire safety matters into the development.

We are placing guidance on the website and in the relevant application types and questions, and will add a specific ‘Fire Statement’ to our list of standard supporting document types.

For full and outline planning permission applications, users will be able to add a ‘Fire Statement’ using the template and guidance provided by Government.

For certain types of prior approval application:

  • Application to determine if prior approval is required for a proposed: Change of use from Commercial, Business and Service (Use Class E) to Dwellinghouses (Use Class C3)
  • Applications for prior approval of proposed:
    • New dwellinghouses on detached blocks of flats
    • New dwellinghouses on detached buildings in commercial or mixed use

Where proposals meet the conditions, “the fire safety impacts on the intended occupants of the building” will become a specific matter for consideration, and will require “a statement about the fire safety design principles, concepts and standards that have been applied to the development”, which can be added using the same ‘Fire Statement’ document type.

Other changes that are happening

Content updates will be made on the website and in application questions to surface the shorter application determination periods for major public infrastructure developments (“hospitals, schools and further education colleges, prisons, young offenders’ institutions and other criminal justice accommodation”)

Updates to our fee schedule will be made to reflect the fee values for the following prior approval applications:

  • Enlargement of a dwellinghouse by construction of additional storeys - £96 fee
  • Change of use - commercial/business/service/etc to mixed use including up to two flats - £96 fee
  • Change of use - commercial/business/service to dwellinghouses - £100 per dwellinghouse