Concerns about latest proposals to remove the need for planning permission

We’ve recently responsed to the Government’s latest proposed changes to the planning system.

Earlier this year, we welcomed the Government’s decision not to allow barn conversions in National Parks without planning permission. We were delighted that the Government listened to the concerns we raised and seemed to have understood the reasons why stronger planning controls are needed in National Parks. So it’s really disappointing that their most recent proposals for changes to the planning system include yet more proposals to allow buildings to be converted to residential use without planning permission. This time the proposals relate to light industrial and storage buildings so the proposals could have unintended consequences for employment, service provision and the local economy in National Parks as well as undermining policies to support affordable housing and ensure new developments are in sustainable development. We have objected to these proposals highlighting many of the concerns we raised previously about the barn conversion proposal.

We have also objected to proposals to increase the numbers of solar PV panels that can be installed on non-domestic buildings without planning permission. The Government is proposing that this should only apply in National Parks and AONBs for roof slopes which face away from a road but this would still allow them to be installed in locations which are visible across a wide area from footpaths and bridleways. Removing the need for planning permission could actually be counter-productive in terms of encouraging renewable energy infrastructure if it allows solar PVs to be installed in completely inappropriate locations as this would make the technology very unpopular with local residents.

Finally, we’ve also objected to proposals to prevent the use of maximum parking standards as we believe that local planning authorities must be able to manage parking alongside all the other impacts of a development. Setting maximum parking standards helps maximise the amount of new housing that can be delivered in existing town and village centres, thus reducing the pressure for development elsewhere in National Parks.