February 4, 2023

Class O- Permitted Development Rights

Whilst planning permission is not required for a change of use under Class O, prior approval does need to be obtained from the local authority

What happens if works are undertaken before prior approval is sought?

Definitions

a.     Class O

Class O of the GPDO allows for the conversion of offices to any number of dwellings

b.    Permitted Development Rights

Permitted development rights are an automatic grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.

c. Town and Country (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015

Under this Order, the Secretary of State grants planning permission for different types of development in specified circumstances. These permissions are usually subject to certain limitations and conditions, including in some cases a condition that a developer applies to a local planning authority for a determination as to whether their prior approval is required for certain impacts before the development can begin. The permissions granted by this Order are commonly known as permitted development rights. The Order also sets out the circumstances and the procedure (in Article 4 and Schedule 3) where a local planning authority may remove specified national permitted development rights in part of its area

Background

Whilst planning permission is not required for a change of use under Class O, prior approval does need to be obtained from the local authority

Legal provisions and procedure

The procedure for this is set out in paragraph W of Part 3, Schedule 2of the Town and Country (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (“the Order”). This requires that the development must not commence before either:

  1. the receipt by the applicant from the local planning authority of a written notice that prior approval is not required,
  2. the receipt by the applicant from the local planning authority of a written notice giving their prior approval
  3. the expiry of 56 days following the date on which the application for prior approval was received by the local planning authority without the authority notifying the applicant whether prior approval is given or refused.

What happens if works are undertaken before prior approval is sought?

The risk otherwise is that the development will not be considered lawful under the GPDO and planning permission may need to be sought.

In a recent appeal decision dated 9 March 2020 relating to the refusal of prior approval, an Inspector ruled that as development had already commenced in relation to the proposed change of use under Class O, prior approval could not be granted.

Practical Implications

  1. It is important to carefully check all of the provisions of the relevant section of the GPDO and the exceptions before commencing development
  2.  It is also important to check that there are no limitations on permitted development rights being exercised, for example Article 4 Directions which may be in place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *