James Blackburn of Carbon Green Consulting - one of our partners, reports that on 20th March 2014 the Government officially confirmed it is scrapping the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Yesterday, the government officially confirmed the scrapping of the Code for Sustainable Homes. This had been mooted as part of the wider Housing Standards Review Consultation undertaken over the last two years and forms part of the government’s attempt to reduce housing regulations by about 90%.
The decision has been greeted with a mixed response from the industry. Many have hailed it as a release from an arduous and costly “tick box” exercise which added little to the true sustainability of homes. Others have claimed it will lead to a drop in sustainability standards on residential development sites. The major concern of many is that those areas of the Code which will not now be covered by the Building Regulations may well be lost in local policy or guidance and therefore, developments may become less sustainable in future.
James Blackburn comments
'As a practicing assessor, my own observations are that many developers have embraced the Code and seen it as a positive step as well as an opportunity to further their own sustainability credentials. Others have seen it as an imposition which should be circumvented where ever possible and delivered to the barest minimum .Clearly, there is a profit argument to be had here, but equally a wasted opportunity others have embraced!
Middle ground as usual is the safest path and I been involved in several sensitive applications where a significant demonstration of sustainability commitment in all it’s forms on site does undoubtedly help set the right tone on behalf of our client.
Moving forward, the National Planning Policy Framework is forcing local authorities to confront these sustainability issues and reflect them in policy. Many authorities already have policies and various specific and detailed guidance notes on sustainable buildings and communities which go far beyond the Code requirements. Development in these areas will be all the better for it.'
- See more at: http://www.carbongc.com/news/code-for-sustainable-homes-axed-its-official#sthash.7g9nSsfv.dpuf
Quick on the hoof of the Ministerial announcement previously blogged comes The Town and Country (General Permitted Development) (Amendment and Consequential Provisions) (England) Order 2014 which will be enacted on 6th April 2014!
Summary of the changes:
More flexibility in planning relates to the following changes of use:
With these changes comes the allowance to carry out basic building operations confined to the building envelope such as
How it works:
Change of use is subject to two prior notification procedures - one in respect of the change of use itself and the other, in respect of any associated building operations. This requires the submission of an Application for Prior Determination to the Local Planning Authority as to whether prior approval is required in respect of:
For building operations, before beginning the change of use, developers/applicants are required to submit a Determination to the Local Planning Authority as to whether the prior approval will be required in relation to the design or external appearance of the building
These rights due not extend to or include:
Shops in main shopping parades or high streets
Sites in 'Article 1(5) Land such as National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Conservation Area or a World Heritage site or if it is or forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a designated safety hazard area, a military explosives area or of the site contains a Scheduled Ancient Monument or relates to a Listed Building.
Agricultural permitted development to dwellinghouse/s is not permitted where the site was not used solely for agriculture or as part of an established agricultural unit on 20th March 2013. Other agricultural buildings may however qualify for residential conversion in future if the site was brought into use on or after 20 March 2013, and is used for that purpose for 10 years before the date the development begins - 20th March 2023.
Getting the time right:
Time periods for change need to be checked thoroughly. The changes set out in this Statutory Instrument must begin within three years from the date the prior approval was granted. Do not get confused with the time period set for larger residential extensions (30th May 2016)!
Local Planning Authorities have a period of 56 days (8 weeks) to notify the developer/applicant of the outcome of their determination. If not met, then the change of use or building operations can go ahead from the 57th day.
Where determinations are issued on time, the LPA can decide to grant approval either unconditionally or subject to conditions reasonably related to the subject matter of the prior approval.
If you require further advice and assistance determining if you can take advantage of the recent changes,
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15.03.2014 - Murphy Associates gave over time to assist the Friends of Stoneham Park host their consultation workshop on potential improvements to Stoneham Park with S106 monies from the redevelopment of the old Gala Bingo Site. Eimear prepared the run of play and the presentation as well as explaining the reasons for the event, future intentions and outcomes. The Friends committee members played theirs parts with Christine and Chrissie having the job of disseminating all the information!
As of 6th March 2014 all previous Planning Guidance and certain Circulars have been or are in the process of being cancelled and consolidated in an online resource - the National Planning Policy Guidance!
We waved bye-bye to PPGs and PPSs but a lot of technical guidance remained 'material'. Now we have an online document of around 800 pages with signing up facility for update alerts. So be on your toes - even good old Circular 11/95 has gone but Annex A - model conditions has been retained.
I won't say watch this space but I am still going through the NPPG online version.
It is now almost certain that changes to liberalise the planning system further to allow the conversion of shops (outside key shopping areas) and redundant, under-utilised agricultural buildings to dwellings as permitted development will take place. The Ministerial Statement issued on 6th March 2014 suggests that the new rights will be subject of a Prior Approval Process in order to allow Council's to assess flooding implications. The new rights will allow up to 450 square metres to be converted for up to 3 homes BUT this is unlikely to apply to National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and probably Conservation Areas as well as all designated Article 1(5) land.
More detail is to follow in due course!