Town and County Planning
The Planning Acts are a system which regulates both works to and the use of property , and activity at the property. The Acts work on the principle that a material change to the use or exterior fabric of the property will require legal authorisation.
- A material change of use may however not require consent if there is deemed planning consent. Certain changes of use are usually permitted if they remain within particular “Use Class” under the Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) but a planning consent may specifically state that this is not the case. These usually permitted changes are sometimes specifically excluded by a planning permission.
- When consent is given it may not be general in nature but may be restricted by certain conditions. Planning conditions may restrict the use of property in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes the planning permission will be “personal” to the organisation to whom it is granted. This is very common in the case of community premises. There may also be very tight restrictions on use reflecting the actual use proposed in the original planning application.
- Planning law as such relates generally only to works carried out to the exterior of property. Listed building consent may however be required to changes to the interior of a listed building whether or not planning consent is also necessary. Listed building consent relates only to works carried out to the property that affect the character of the building as a whole. The whole building (and where relevant possibly outbuildings and all or part of any outside area) will be listed.
- Breach of authorised planning use or planning conditions can result in enforcement action by the local planning authority. However there are strategies that can be used to deal with the risk of this arising. [Dealing with planning problems]
- Planning gain agreements (for example section 106 agreements) are very similar in legal effect to restrictive covenant arrangements but they can also include obligations that not only restrict activity but require money to be paid or activities to be carried out. They work more or less on the principle that if a planning permission would be appropriate were it not for something that it would take away, then the developer can offer to enter into an agreement whereby something would be given back to the planning area. They can restrict use of the property beyond the planning permission itself.
- Community Infrastructure Levy is broadly speaking a tax on development on property intended to support local infrastructure. Charities will be exempt from Community Infrastructure Levy if their property is used for charitable purposes There is however no relief if the property in question is jointly owned with a non-charity.
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Mr A B Smith