Give Me Some Space

7th October 2020

Last week (30th September 2020) the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, announced that all new homes delivered through permitted development rights will have to meet minimum space standards. The announcement follows earlier reforms that came into force in August this year to ensure homes provide adequate light, as covered in our previous articles Going Up and Onwards & Upwards.

The proposed changes will require all homes consented under the prior approval process to conform with the nationally described space standard, which gives specific minimum internal floor areas for dwellings with different numbers of occupants and bedrooms. Previously, it had been left to the market to dictate the appropriate internal space for dwellings, which has resulted in development brought forward under permitted development being below the space standards that are applied to planning applications.

The pandemic situation has emphasised the importance of adequate living space for all types of dwellings. The application of the standards to permitted development schemes is one response to this. Read more about a couple of our planners experience of living in accommodation which had a previous use during lockdown in our article Living in the Office.

The hearing for the legal challenge against the Government’s recently introduced permitted development rights for upward extensions and changes to the use class order is due to be heard in the high court in October, as explained here. This decision to introduce space standards is very much seen to be a precursor to this, as well as the Government’s plans to introduce design codes for the delivery of homes under the permitted development rights as part of their White Paper.

No timeline has, at this time, been given as to when the legislation for space standards will be introduced or indeed whether it will apply to all permitted development rights including those not subject to the prior approval process. Certainly, there is a risk that, as a result of this uncertainty, Councils may be less inclined to deal with prior approval submissions relating to residential development where they do not meet space standards. Clarity on timeframes for the new legislation is anticipated following the outcome of the hearing.

Should you be considering what permitted development rights are available to you, or the implications of this recent announcement, do get in touch with us by calling 01256 766673 or contact us.

Jamie Wallace, Associate


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