It’s all new: new national space standards for new homes

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In Summer 2020, the Government announced a raft of new permitted development rights (“PD rights”). The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has now announced that all new dwellings built under PD rights will need to satisfy the “Nationally Described Space Standard”. Under Regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(England)(Amendment) Regulations 2020/1243, every dwelling built under PD rights must have a gross internal floor area of at least 37 square metres (unless it is an exempt unit). Regulation 3 will be in force from 6 April 2021 and comes after the recent publication of the Planning White Paper, which set out the Government’s ambition to encourage wide-spread development of high quality residential properties.

Under the transitional arrangements, the new national space standards will not apply to developments where a prior approval application is made before 6 April 2021 and either (1) the application is granted before or after 6 April 2021 or (2) it is subsequently determined (or deemed to be determined) that prior approval is not required.

There is therefore a tight deadline by which developers seeking to deliver new homes under PD rights (or seeking to change the use of commercial/office space to dwellings) without having to demonstrate total compliance with the new national space standards must seek prior approval for their schemes.

That said, Local Planning Authorities may well resist applications that are submitted even before the 6 April 2021 deadline where the proposed scheme does not satisfy the future space standards.

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