The Government’s sweeping changes to the Use Classes Order and permitted development regime that came into force earlier this month, have already met with a legal challenge says commercial property agent Prop-Search.
A campaign group, Rights: Community: Action has launched judicial review challenging the new rules, which were bought in to allow greater flexibility between all uses and ultimately a more agile planning framework to reflect the evolving demands in how property is utilised, without having to obtain planning permission.
Samantha Jones, an Associate Director of Prop-Search, said: “The claim challenges the lawfulness of three statutory instruments relating to the changes. These are the introduction of permitted development rights for the upwards extension of dwellings by two stories and new Class ZA for the demolition of commercial premises or blocks of flats and the construction of a detached dwelling or block of flats; as well as the introduction of new Class E of the Use Classes Order.”
The new Class E which came into force 1 September 2020 revokes a number of previous use classes and replaces them with a broader use class. Existing buildings that are already used for Class A1 (retail), A2 (financial & professional services), A3 (restaurants & cafes), B1 (business) and certain D1 (non-residential institutions) and D2 (assembly & leisure) uses such as gyms, nurseries and health centres, now fall within a Class E (commercial, business & service).
Rights: Community: Action argue that the Government did not carry out the correct procedures in introducing the new measures as it failed to (i) undertake an environmental assessment pursuant to the SEA Directive, (ii) have regard to the public sector equality duty pursuant to the Equality Act 2010 and (iii) take into account consultation responses and other material considerations.
Sir Justice Holgate subsequently issued a response to the legal challenge ordering that the interim relief application be withdrawn and scheduled a rolled up hearing for between 08 October 2020 and 15 October 2020. The rolled up hearing will first consider if permission is to be granted for the claim to be heard and if it is, will proceed to the substantive hearing.
Samantha Jones concludes: “Whilst the challenge has been filed with the High Court, this does not at present impact on the effectiveness of the new rights of development or Use Classes Order. And until such time as the High Court hands down its judgment, the new rights remain in force.”