Emergency Healthcare Facilities

15th April 2020

The coronavirus has seen the need for a range additional facilities to help support the fight against the virus. The response has been rapid with facilities such as the adaption of London’s Excel exhibition centre into the NHS Nightingale hospital.

Clearly, the need for these types of changes of use and for other facilities such as temporary building and structures is not something which should be hampered by the need for planning permission.  To address this the Government has introduced new emergency permitted development rights to allow Local Authorities and health services to create these new facilities.

The permitted developments right allow for development by or on behalf of a local authority or health service body on land owned, leased, occupied or maintained by it for the purpose of preventing an emergency, reducing controlling or mitigating the effect of an emergency or taking other actions in connection with an emergency.

Such development is allowed within conservation areas, national parks and listed buildings although it does not remove the need for separate Listed Building Consent should that be required. The only sites specifically excluded are military explosive storages areas, sites of special scientific interest and sites containing a scheduled monument.

The schedule does include a number of criteria restricting the development to be carried out and excludes development within 5m of a boundary to a dwelling, limits the building height to 6m where any part is within 10 metres of the boundary and sets out a maximum building height of 18 metres.

The temporary use/development is permitted until December 2020 after which the land or premises would revert to its original use. The only procedural requirement is for the developer to notify the local planning authority of the development as soon as practical after commencing the development.

It should be noted that this legislation only applies to activities that are undertaken by the public sector and does not apply to those undertaken by other businesses.

If you have any questions regarding a change of use or temporary structures, Bell Cornwell can provide advice and guidance.

For more information please contact a member of our team.

Jamie Wallace, Associate

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