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Planning applications in lockdown

An update from a Planning and Architectural Perspective

 Local Authorities (South West) Planning Working Update

As we move into a new normal, local authorities have issued statements on how they are engaging with applicants and their representatives. Most case officers and their colleagues are remote working and some are unable to visit sites. They have asked that applicants bear with them in these unprecedented times but also work with the local authorities and supply images and a comprehensive range of drawings to ensure they are able to fully assess proposals.

To support clients wanting to continue with projects Studio Yaqub can provide a comprehensive range of services, including liaising with the local authority, and we are happy to discuss potential projects moving forward.

A3/A4 - A5 - Temporary Planning

The Government has introduced a recent amendment to The General Permitted Development Order 2015 (GDPO) using Statutory Instruments, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The amendment will temporarily allow uses falling under A3 (cafes and restaurants) and A4 (drinking establishments) to provide takeaway food, which normally falls solely under sale of hot food for consumption off the premises A5 (hot food takeaways). This means that the usual requirement to secure formal planning permission for this specific situation has been temporarily relaxed.

We understand that these measures are in place for a period of up to 12 months only; the developer must notify the local authority when this begins and ends. Please note that at the end of this period, potentially earlier, the usage rights will revert to their original classification, such as A3 or A4. If A5 use is required beyond this point a formal application will need to be submitted to the Local Authority for its consideration.

However, you should pay close attention to the Government’s advice as the public health situation develops. For example, it may be possible that they may remove these rights if more stringent measures are required.

This matter relates specifically to planning and does not cover any other consequential areas, such as but not limited to leases and landlord approvals that may be required.

See Government Press release here <>

Additionally, a further temporary permitted development right has been introduced until 31st December 2020. It allows development by or on behalf of a local authority or health service body for the purposes of preventing, mitigating or taking action in connection with an emergency.

If you are considering a change of use and would like professional advice on your proposed works, please contact us directly.

HMO - Draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

Bristol City Council has produced and completed a phase of consultation on a new Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) that will focus specifically on houses of multiple occupancy and will support the Local Plan when determining applications for HMOs. The document particularly highlights a focus on situations where harmful HMO concentrations are likely to arise. This includes the sandwiching of residential properties by HMOs and areas where more than 10 per cent of dwellings are occupied as HMOs and/or purpose-built student accommodation.

See the Local Authority’s draft policy here <>

The draft SPD is an example of upcoming planning policy documents that may affect your proposals. This is a single example of changes in planning policy that could have a knock-on effect on developments and it is always best to seek professional advice when deciding your route forward.

Usman Yaqub

Studio Yaqub