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New Permitted Development Right

The NHS and Local Authorities have been granted a new permitted development right in relation to the coronavirus emergency which allows development required to deal with the emergency to be carried out subject to specified conditions.

The regulations can be viewed here:

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Coronavirus) (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 No. 412 has been published to legislation.gov.uk: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/uksi/2020/412

In summary, the regulations provide a new time limited emergency permitted development right. It comes into force at 10am on 9 April 2020 and expires on the 31 December 2020.

The right supports health service bodies and local authorities’ immediate response to coronavirus.  The right is wide ranging, allowing for development by or on behalf of a local authority or health authority body for the purposes of preventing an emergency; reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of an emergency; and taking other action in connection with an emergency. The right enables development including, but not limited to, change of use for existing buildings and new temporary modular buildings. The right could be suitable to provide permission for a range of uses including use as hospitals, health facilities, testing centres, coroner facilities, mortuaries, additional residential accommodation and storage and distribution, including for community food hubs. There is no planning application process, and health service bodies and local authorities who are not the planning authority are required only to notify the local planning authority of the use of the development on a site as soon as practicable after commencing development.  We expect this will be by e-mail or in writing.

A development will not be permitted under the regulations if it does not comply with the specified conditions relating to:


  • Height of the new building and distance to the boundary of the land;
  • Height of the new building in relation to the height of existing buildings;
  • Height of the new building and proximity to the boundary of the curtilage of a dwellinghouse;
  • Height of the highest part of the roof of an extended/altered building in relation to the boundary of the building;
  • Height of the highest part of the roof of the altered building in relation to the height of the roof of the part of the building that is altered;
  • As to moveable structures, works, plant and machinery proximity to the boundary of a dwellinghouse or boundary of the land
  • Specified types of land ie,  military explosive storage area, sites of special scientific interest and land or buildings that are or contain a scheduled monument.


It is important to engage with the local authority’s planning team particularly in relation to the location of VIE tanks and other such structures to ensure compliance with the regulations.

This order allows for the fast track of the process but relevant guidance from local authorities should be followed, especially on heritage assets.

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