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Ask the Planning Expert

19th January 2021

In this month’s The Farmer supplement our Planning Expert and Partner, Paul Middleton, was asked the question:

Do I need planning permission to re-build my home if I’m demolishing the old house on the site?

Here is his answer…

The short answer is no. Planning permission won’t be needed to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant commercial or residential buildings if they are re-built as homes. Instead, like other Permitted Development (PD) rights, a prior approval application must be made to the local planning authority for determination.

If a development is to make use of the new PD right, the old building must have a footprint of no larger than 1,000m2, be free standing and be no higher than 18m. It must also have been built before 1 January 1990 and not be within a conservation area, national park, area of outstanding natural beauty or a site of special scientific interest.

It must also have been vacant for at least six months before the date of the application for prior approval and we would anticipate that commercial buildings will have to be rateable.

The PD provides consent for works for the construction of a new building that can be up to two storeys higher than the old building, with a maximum overall height of 18 metres, with demolition and subsequent construction having to be completed within three years of the date of the grant of prior approval.

As with other new PD rights, the developer must apply for prior approval from the local planning authority on certain aspects of the proposed development. These include transport and highways impacts, contamination and flooding risks, the design and external appearance, the provision of natural light and impact of noise, business and local amenity.

The new PD provides an opportunity to consider housing on sites that may otherwise have not been possible under normal planning policies which is positive and welcomed.