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Date: 18 August 2020

Author: Chris Wright

A Game Changer to the Planning System


How the recently announced planning changes will assist Developers

We are starting to see evidence of the Prime Ministers recent pledge to build, build, build” and the vital role the construction industry will play in kick-starting the economy, with what the Government claims will be one of the biggest and most radical changes to the planning system in recent years.

A host of new measures are being proposed, which are primarily aimed at encouraging more development and removing some of the red tape around planning.

Proposed New Planning Changes

Change of Use:

A wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application;

Demolish & Rebuild: 

Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes;

Airspace Development:

Property owners will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast-track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation.


Airspace Development – What does it look like?

Where a property owner wants to build additional space above their existing property, the Government has introduced a new Permitted Development Right (PDR) for upwards extensions of existing blocks of flats. These extensions will now benefit from automatic planning permission and a streamlined application process.

Upward extensions will need to meet certain criteria and will be subject to prior approval, whereby a formal submission to a local planning authority will need to be made in order to seek confirmation that specified parts of development are acceptable before work can commence.

Fast Track Planning Conditions

For the building to be deemed eligible for development under these new rights there are several conditions, which include, but are not limited to:

  • The existing building of flats must be three or more storeys in height above ground level;
  • The existing building needs to have been constructed after 1 July 1948 and before 5 March 2018;
  • The land cannot be designated (i.e. as a Conservation Area, Listed Building, AONB); and
  • The new development must remain under use class C3 dwelling houses as its primary use

MSP would recommend seeking advice from an external professional planning consultant to ensure eligibility requirements are met and to help steer you through the process.

MSP Funding Airspace Development

Up until now, Airspace development has been a relatively niche area, with a very limited number of lenders able to finance these types of developments; MSP Capital being one that does provide Airspace financing.

With the new changes being announced, this provides an exciting time for Developers who will see new opportunities to move into this upward extension development space, but particularly for those that already own stock and are looking to maximise the value of their existing assets.

This new Permitted Development Right is likely to prove popular in an area such as London, where there is an extensive stock of apartment buildings and limited land. Further afield, local to MSP Capital, there is still likely to be significant opportunity in areas such as Bournemouth, Poole, Southampton, and Portsmouth given land values are at a level where the addition of storeys to a building could provide a significant financial reward.

Let’s talk

As a lender of development finance, MSP Capital is delighted to confirm that we continue to provide development funding for these newly proposed eligible schemes across the South of England.

Please contact the MSP Capital team to discuss your funding requirement and to find out more.

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