The COVID-19 pandemic is causing strain on every aspect of society. The NHS in particular has been working incredibly hard to react to the ever evolving situation including the creation of new field hospitals.

Certain development of NHS and local authority land had been constrained due to the need for planning permission; however as of today (9th April 2020) The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Coronavirus) (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 (“the Order”) comes into effect. This Order amends Permitted Development rights to allow local authorities and certain health service bodies to carry out development for dealing with emergencies. We look at the effect and impact of the order in the current climate.

What is the effect of the Order?

This Order amends the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (“the GDPO”).

Article 3 inserts a new Part 12A and permitted development right into Schedule 2 to the GDPO. This will allow local authorities and certain health service bodies to carry out development on land owned, leased, occupied or maintained by it for the purposes of:

(a) preventing an emergency;

(b) reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of an emergency; or

(c) taking other action in connection with an emergency.

What is an “Emergency”?

For these purposes, an emergency is an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom.

Who is classified as a “health service body”?

Article 3 sets out a list of 13 different health service bodies which includes Trusts (as well as Foundation Trusts) CCG’s and the CQC.

Are there any exceptions?

In true GPDO fashion there are of course limitations to the development that can benefit from these rights. Article A1 specifies the types of development that is not permitted and includes things such as development within a SSSI or a scheduled monument; likewise there are limitations on building within close proximity (5 metres of the boundary) to the curtilage of a dwelling and there are various height restrictions depending upon whether it is a new buildings or alteration to a new building.

Are these Permitted Development rights permanent?

As you would expect the development permitted by the Order is subject to conditions (which are also set out in the new Part 12A). Notably the use of the land is time limited, the use should cease by 31 December 2020, the land should also be restored to its condition before development took place (or to such other state as agreed with the local planning authority and developer).

In conclusion

The Order allows certain health service bodies and local authorities to carry out certain temporary permitted development for dealing with emergencies without the need to apply for planning permission.

These new rights will speed up and facilitate the use of land and buildings which will be vital in the fight against COVID-19.

How can Capsticks help?

Our Housing & Regeneration team, one of the largest in the country, advises on all types of development transactions from forward funded schemes, section 106 developments and stock rationalisations to plot sales and general asset management work. We are experts on all aspects of planning law including s106 agreements, CIL advice, planning appeals, Compulsory Purchase Orders and all general planning law matters.

If you have any queries around what's been discussed in this article, and the impact on your organisation, please speak to Suzanne Smith or any of your contacts at Capsticks to find out more about how we can help.