The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2020

by Lok Tang, Partner, Delva Patman Redler

The current General Permitted Development rights Order 2015 (GPDO) has been amended as of 9.00am, 31st August 2020 under Order No.2 2020 to include some amendments which will need to be taken onboard by developers. This can be viewed here.

The new permitted development rights (PDR) order allows for up to two storey extensions to be added to existing residential dwellings without the requirement for planning permission. This is also applicable to commercial or mixed-use class buildings. There are a number of exemptions to this and although this sounds positive, the respective local planning authority will expect developers to apply to seek prior approval on a whole host of aspects which include ‘the provision of adequate natural light’ within the new dwellings and the impact on ‘neighbouring premises including overlooking, privacy and the loss of light’.

The initial requirement above is also applicable to PDRs for change of use schemes where existing commercial premises are being turned into residential dwellings.

The word ‘adequate’ is very subjective and will no doubt spark debates as to the interpretation. However light studies are typically a requirement for planning applications at present to not just consider the impact of light to neighbours but also the light availability to habitable rooms within scheme proposals themselves. Local authorities are well versed in anticipating technical studies to support applications and these are measured against the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight 2011. The guide provides indications as to target daylight and sunlight levels which new accommodation should comply with in the shape of Average Daylight Factor (ADF), No Sky Line/Daylight Distribution and Room Depth Criterion.

The introduction of these tests to PDR schemes or to conversions where existing commercial premises are being converted to residential could prove challenging as there may be limitations as to room configurations or window sizes within the existing shell. The BRE Guide is more applicable in relation to a suburban context whereas for more urban localities, compliance may be difficult to achieve. With the introduction of the new British Standard BS17307, the BRE is set to be revised but until this occurs these are still the ‘go to’ tests.

Delva Patman Redler specialise in providing daylight & sunlight advice and are well placed to advise and assist developers and architects to navigate through the requirements for prior approval as a result of the new GPDO requirements.

Do not hesitate to get in contact with Lok Tang or our wider team. or 0207 936 3668.