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Two sides of the coin: What do the government’s changes to the planning system mean for you and your clients?

by Paul Addison on July 30, 2020 No comments

Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced changes to the planning system to aid the construction industry and wider economy in the aftermath of the pandemic. In addition, a review of government-owned land will look at how it can be managed more effectively. These changes are designed to mobilise the construction industry and help meet the widespread need for more housing.

Whilst regeneration schemes and more homes are much needed, changing the parameters around Permitted Development Rights to give developers and builders more freedom, will undoubtedly become a contentious issue.

Greenlight for developers

From September, developers will be able to change the use of a building without planning permission, enabling new homes to be developed from redundant buildings.

Builders will be able to demolish empty and redundant buildings and re-build as new homes without the need for formal planning applications. This increased flexibility on planning covers empty residential and commercial buildings. With this more flexible approach to planning, commercial properties such as shops and offices impacted by the pandemic, can be converted into residential housing more easily.

Impact on communities

These changes to the planning processes are welcome news for regeneration schemes and the re-purposing of vacant buildings in order to get more homes on the market. However, there is an obvious impact on the existing neighbourhoods. There are likely to be many homeowners and landlords who may have bought a property not expecting further development on their doorstep, or the potential for a surge of more residents moving in.

It is worth noting that whilst many buildings and redundant land will be repurposed for housing under this new relaxation of the rules, there are certain buildings that will not receive the same flexibility. Buildings considered essential to the fabric of a community, such as pubs and village shops will remain subject to the formal planning application processes.

Impact on communities

Money talks

The government has laid out their plans for investment in the need for more housing, most notably;

  • £12bn towards building affordable homes which should see 180,000 more new homes delivered over eight years.
  • Funds allocated from the £400m Brownfield Land Fund to various regions in the midlands and north, including Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield. This investment will help deliver 24,000 new homes.
  • The Homebuilding Fund will help smaller developers access financial support and is aimed to help deliver over 7,000 new homes.

For builders, developers, first time buyers and those currently struggling with being priced out of the property market, this is welcome news.

How does this impact your clients?

Whilst these changes will aid the construction industry at this crucial time for the economy, these schemes will mean previous areas that were protected from development or change of use, may no longer be.

Your clients face being impacted by these changes both when buying and selling. What buildings and land could impact their property if greenlit for development? This depth of information you need is unlikely to be picked up in standard planning searches but it will be picked up in a DevAssist report.

Talk to our team today about which of our four dedicated reports will give you and your clients the full picture of planned and potential development in their neighbourhood. Call us on 01342 890010 or get in touch at

Paul AddisonTwo sides of the coin: What do the government’s changes to the planning system mean for you and your clients?

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