Airspace Development and the new Permitted Development Rights

By Simon Kenneally

Senior Associate

The long-awaited Permitted Development Rights have now been passed into law and added to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended). This has been long seen as a key component to energise the airspace development sector by making it easier to build on top of existing buildings.

WHAT ARE THE NEW RIGHTS?

The new rights permit the construction of two additional storeys of flats on top of a residential building.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS?

Although the Permitted Development rights should foreshorten the planning process, you still have to obtain prior approval from the local authority and provide them with a significant amount of technical data and a construction management plan.

The major upside for developers is that there will be no affordable housing provision required for developments under Permitted Development Rights. This does not mean, however, that the local authority is prevented from seeking to charge Community Infrastructure Levy payments.

WHAT BUILDINGS QUALIFY?

Not all buildings qualify for permitted development:

  • The building must be an existing purpose-built detached block of flats
  • The building must not be less than three storeys in height
  • The building must have been constructed between 1st July 1948 and 5th March 2018, so new developments are excluded.

DO ALL DEVELOPMENTS QUALIFY?

There are stringent restrictions on the development:

  • The development must be on the main residential building and not on any annexures or outbuildings and the development must not protrude outside the curtilage of the main building
  • The overall height of the roof of the developed building must not be greater than 7 meters higher than the highest part of the existing roof
  • Each additional storey must not exceed three metres
  • The developed building must not be higher than 30 metres

WHAT ABOUT ARTICLE 4 DIRECTIONS?

Local authorities will have the power to restrict the scope of the Permitted Development Rights in a particular area, particular buildings or in respect of particular developments and this needs checking with every site you’re considering developing. 

For more information or to find out how we can help you, please contact our Commercial Property Team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.