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COVID-19 - new temporary Permitted Development rights and other updates

The Town and Country Planning Act (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 follows a series of announcements by the Government to support businesses during the current Covid-19 pandemic. 


Entertainment use PD rights

The amendment allows restaurants (Class A3) and pubs/bars/drinking establishments (Class A4) or a premises providing a mix of those uses, to function as a hot food take away under Class A5. This allows them to sell hot food for consumption off the premises.  Usually, planning permission would be required for this change.  However, premises are now allowed to do this for a period of up to 12 months as of 24 March 2020.  This has now been extended until 23 March 2022.  Businesses are required to tell the Local Planning Authority when the new take away use begins and ends.   Once the take-away use has finished, the building reverts to it’s previous use.



Delivery times for supermarkets

The government has also indicated that it will be flexible in terms of delivery times for supermarkets – meaning that supermarkets temporarily may not  be able to comply with planning conditions which restrict delivery times, often to protect the amenity of neighbouring residents.



Permitted Develoment for local authorities and health services

A further temporary permitted development right came into force on 9 April, to allow local authorities and health service bodies to carry out development (both physical works and change of use) of facilities required in their roles in responding to Covid-19.  This will include, for example, the ability to provide new hospitals, testing centres, coroners facilities, mortuaries, staff accommodation, storage and distribution (including food hubs).

Certain restrictions apply to dimensions and proximity to residential buildings and boundaries.  The PD right also applies to conservation areas, National Parks and listed buildings, but does not remove the requirement for listed building consent.

The body undertaking the development is required to notify the local planning authority after commencement.  The PD right applies until 31 December 2021 after which the land and buildings must be returned to their prior use/condition. 

Further detail can be found here:  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/412/made  and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/412/memorandum/contents


New permitted development for temporary uses of land

The Government published (24 June 2020) a Statutory Instrument to the Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.  It removes the requirement for Councils to get planning permission to be able to hold street markets for the period between 25 June 2020 and 23 March 2022.  Additionally, the restrictions regarding the temporary use of land have been relaxed for until the end of 2021 – so the temporary use of land for markets or motor racing can now take place for 28 days (previously 14) within the year, or up to 56 days for other uses (was 28 days).  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/632/made


Neighbourhood Planning

MHCLG have issued guidance on Neighbourhood Planning during the pandemic.  Whilst no referendums can take place until 6 May 2021, current Planning Practice Guidance has been amended to set out that Neighbourhood Plans awaiting a referendum can be given ‘significant weight’ in decision making.  The guidance note can be found here:


Additional up to date advice on neighbourhood planning can be found on the Locality website:  https://neighbourhoodplanning.org/


Page updated January 2021

For summaries of the latest government updates relating to the economy and planning and COVID-19, please visit the Royal Town Planning Institute: https://www.rtpi.org.uk/news/coronavirus/

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