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Planning and environment

Asset of community value – pub

The past few years have seen the closure of many pubs. Existing permitted development rights allow change of use (without a planning application) to A1 (shops), A3 (restaurants and cafes) or A2 (financial and professional services).

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Environmental impact – ‘significant’ local effect

Small-scale or local impacts can be ‘significant’ for deciding whether a development needs an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

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Affordable housing – vacant building credit

Vacant building credit was introduced at the end of 2014. It applies when working out the amount of affordable housing contribution required for a new development; in effect, there is a credit for existing floor space, so the additional housing contribution only relates to the net increase.

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Agricultural – conversions

In April 2014 the rules on agricultural-to-residential conversions were relaxed by the introduction of a new class of permitted development (Class MB).

 

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Section 106 – monitoring fees

It is not uncommon for an LA to require a developer to pay ‘monitoring fees’ to cover the costs of ensuring that the developer complies with the terms of an s106 agreement. However, the High Court has held that such fees will often be unlawful.

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Planning – noise nuisance

DCLG has amended its planning practice guide on noise. The aim is to protect existing pubs, music venues and similar businesses from being required to install expensive soundproofing when new residential developments are built nearby (and also to protect them from statutory noise nuisance proceedings).

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Agricultural – conversions

In April 2014 the rules on agricultural-to-residential conversions were relaxed with the introduction of a new class of permitted development (Class MB) allowing change of use and some building operations. Needless to say, this change has not been welcomed by all rural planning authorities.

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Planning – Wales

The Planning (Wales) Bill is likely to come into force in 2015, and introduces a new framework for strategic planning, and the preparation of planning policies, in Wales. In effect, this is a further step towards there being a distinct planning system for Wales.

 

Planning conditions – deemed discharge

As part of its moves to speed up the planning process, the government is intending to introduce a system for deeming that a planning condition has been discharged (if the LPA has not responded within a reasonable time).

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Planning – agricultural condition

It is not uncommon to find a planning condition which restricts occupation of a dwelling to agricultural workers (‘ag-tag’ condition). 
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