New clause 14 and the associated amendment 126 address an anomaly in section 60 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The new clause will allow a local authority or the Secretary of State to approve matters relating to the new use of land where the planning permission for change of use is granted by a development order. I am keen to free up the planning system from unnecessary constraints to ensure that local planning authorities can focus on the most important planning matters in their areas. I want to ensure that economic growth is not suffocated by unnecessary constraints on development that is change of use.
As part of the Prime Minister’s housing and planning growth announcement on 6 September, the Government set out their intention to allow for the change of use of offices to residential accommodation. That will be secured through the granting of a permitted development right.
The permitted development right regime is a well understood tool for granting national planning permissions for small scale development. Section 60(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provides for the Secretary of State to require the approval of the local planning authority with respect to certain matters. That allows potential impacts from the development to be managed.
New clause 14 will similarly allow the Secretary of State to provide that both local authorities and he can ensure that, where permitted development is granted for a change of use, the impacts from the development can be managed sensitively. For example, that could include ensuring that adequate measures are in place to manage the impact of any additional traffic generation or noise created by the change of use. It could also put protections in place, which could ensure that proper account is taken to manage risks, such as where the change of use is in an area where there are flood risks, whether contamination remedial works have previously been undertaken, or whether the development is near a safety hazard zone.
Amendment 126 provides that new clause 14 will be commenced on Royal Assent. We have committed to bringing forward the permitted development right in relation to change of use from commercial to residential at the earliest possible date. The amendment will allow for that, while ensuring that local authorities are able to manage the impacts of the proposed changes. These are sensible measures that will ensure that development can take place quickly while also managing potential adverse impacts. I hope the Committee will support the inclusion of new clause 14 as well as amendment 126.