In response to the huge pressure being placed on existing NHS facilities by the COVID 19 outbreak, the Government has passed new legislation to create a new permitted development right allowing emergency development to be carried out by local authorities and health service providers.
The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Coronavirus) (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 comes into force today (9 April 2020) and will enable local authorities and health service providers to change the use of existing buildings, or erect new temporary buildings or structures on land to provide healthcare facilities such as temporary hospitals, mortuaries, testing centres etc. It also allows the change of use of existing buildings such as hotels to provide temporary accommodation for staff, volunteers in the health sector.
The change in the legislation will allow such emergency changes of use and development of temporary facilities without needing to secure express planning permission either for the development itself or to revert back to the existing use. It is for a temporary period until 30 December 2020 to cover the immediate urgent need.
The local authority or health service body does not need to “own” the land or buildings in question as the Order includes those which are owned, leased, occupied or maintained by them. This therefore offers the opportunity for those with land and buildings in a suitable location and which may not be able to be used for their existing lawful activities to assist the NHS at a time when their services are stretched to the limit.
Kirsty Castle, Partner Planning, Batcheller Monkhouse.
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