Recent changes in the permitted development rights will mean that State funded schools could take advantage of eased planning rules to secure premises.
With the recent planning changes, which came into force on the 30th May 2013 schools will be able to acquire premises which currently have B1 business, C1 hotels, C2 residential institutions and D2 assembly and leisure use classes, and change the use to a state funded school without the need for planning permission. The full list of class uses can be found on the Planning Portal website.
This change to permitted development rights coincides with the Governments announcement that the go-ahead has been given to 102 free schools to open in 2014. Free schools are taxpayer funded schools that be set up by groups or parents, teachers or charities.
The Department of Education have advised that the majority of these 102 free schools have yet to secure a site at this stage.
This change to planning will allow these schools to look to secure premises that possible they may have not thought of due to the planning change of use requirements.
Of these 102 schools, 9 are based in the East of England, including Ixworth Free School in Suffolk, Jane Austin College in Norfolk and Aspire Academy in Essex. A full list of the schools approved for opening in 2014 can be found here.
The changes will also include a temporary permitted development right that allows a building, of any class use, to be used as a state funded school for a limited period of one academic year. This may be of particular use if a school is undergoing an extensive refurbishment programme and could mitigate against temporary class rooms.
These changes to permitted development are also extended to other areas of development and further details can be found in our blog on high street regeneration.
Some permitted development rights already exist for extending existing schools and this information can be found on our blog on school extensions and alterations.
Free school groups seeking to take advantage of the changes to permitted development rights will still be required to seek prior approval from their local authority for their proposals, under the prior approval process, before beginning the development and the applicant must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether its approval is required to take account of the development’s transport, highways and noise impacts or any contamination risks at the site.
With a number of previously approved free schools facing delays because of the red tape and the planning process it is hoped that these changes will speed up the process and ensure opening targets are met.
To discuss your requirements for any school project, whether extending, converting, refurbishment or a new build, please get in touch to see what services we offer. Email us on email@example.com or contact a member of the team.