The Government is introducing sweeping changes to the planning system in England, with a view to cutting down on bureaucracy and letting the market decide what we use our buildings for, as well as facilitating much needed housing development. The changes are both medium term and immediate. In this Alert, we focus on the immediate changes the Government has introduced to the Use Classes Order and Permitted Development Rights which are aimed at re-vitalising the high street and making it easier to build new homes.

As most people are aware, if you want to build something or change its use, you usually need to obtain  planning permission from a local authority. This can be a long and expensive process. Over the years, the Government has tried to add some flexibility to this process by allowing certain types of development to take place or certain changes of use without the need for planning permission. It has done this by creating various Permitted Development Rights (which grant permission for development automatically) and also creating Use Classes within which changes of use can be made which are deemed not to amount to development (which would require planning permission). The rules on Permitted Development Rights are set out in the General Permitted Development Order and the rules on permitted changes of use are set out in the Use Classes Order.

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