Planning Permission: Urban Areas

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 29th November 2022.

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Photo of Andrew Lewer Andrew Lewer Conservative, Northampton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will take steps to develop a National Development Management Policy to strengthen town centre first planning principles.

Photo of Andrew Lewer Andrew Lewer Conservative, Northampton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether it is his Department's policy that Planning Use Class E enables out-of-town retail developments to proceed without full planning permission.

Photo of Andrew Lewer Andrew Lewer Conservative, Northampton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of lowering the minimum square footage threshold for retail impact assessments on out-of-town development.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Government has made clear that in the first instance, main town centre uses such as retail, should be located in town centres. When assessing planning applications for town centre uses in out of town locations that have not been identified in a local plan, a sequential test should be applied to help ensure development that would have an unacceptable impact on existing centres is not permitted. The National Development Management Policies are intended to cover generic planning considerations that apply regularly in decision-making, of the sort already found in national planning policy, such as the town centre first principles.

The Class E Commercial, Business and Service use class includes a mix of uses such as retail and leisure uses that attract people to local areas. To help support existing businesses to adapt and diversify more quickly to meet changing circumstances, businesses in the same use class are able to change use of their premises to other uses within the use class without the need for a planning application.

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