Demolition for New Housing

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17/08/2020 - Latest News

In July, the Government unveiled plans to allow unused buildings to be demolished and rebuild as homes. The purpose is said to help revive high streets and town centres and is due to come into effect by September 2020.

Class ZA will be added to Part 20 of the GPDO, allowing for the demolition of existing vacant buildings subject to new dwellings being constructed in their place. The changes only applies to properties that have been vacant for six months prior to the date of the application for prior approval.

Limitations apply in terms of the age of building (built before 1 January 1990) that can be demolished, the location of these buildings and the height of the new building. It also restricts the newly-built scheme to the footprint of the existing structure. The new permitted development right applies to purpose built detached blocks of flats and single detached buildings in B1 use class (e.g. offices light industrial buildings).

Developers must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required for certain matters. The local authority must decide on an application for prior approval within eight weeks, after which the applicant has a right of appeal to the secretary of state.

Matters to be considered through prior approval include: 

  • transport, highways, heritage and archaeology impacts,

  • contamination and flooding risks in relation to the new building, 

  • design and external appearance of the new building, 

  • the adequacy of natural light in all habitable rooms of each new dwellinghouse, 

  • the impact of the development on the amenity of the new building and of neighbouring premises, including overlooking, privacy and light.

  • the impact of noise on the future residents, 

  • the impact of the introduction of residential use into an area, 

  • method of demolition

  • landscaping details

The local authority also has to "notify any owners or occupiers adjoining the proposed development". Demolition and replacement build must be completed within three years of the date of the grant of prior approval and a developer must prepare a construction management plan, setting out how it intends to minimise adverse impacts on neighbouring premises. Developments must comply with building regulations, including in respect of fire safety.