Permitted Development Rights review - phase 2: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to a public consultation on phase 2 of our programme to review and extend Permitted Development Rights (PDR).

5. Assessment of Impacts

Sustainability Appraisal Update

The consultation paper notes that the programme for reviewing and extending PDR to date has been informed by a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) requirements. Additional appraisal of the Phase 2 proposals, setting out the findings of appraisal of the emerging proposals for town centres and for EV charging infrastructure are provided as Annex A to the consultation paper, where proposals on PDR for port developments are also assessed for the first time.

Question 37 – What are your views on the findings of the Update to the 2019 Sustainability Appraisal Report at Annex A?

Seven respondents made a substantive comment at Question 37 and most contributions were very short. General comments included that the clear way in which previous findings of the 2019 SA and new findings in relation to Phase 2 proposals have been set out is welcome. It was also recommended that MCAs should be included as a reasonable alternative in the SA.

EV charging infrastructure

Findings with respect to EV charging were welcomed with agreement that, overall, PDR changes that lead to increased uptake of EV are likely to give rise to significant positive effects. There was also agreement that extended PDR should not be applied in areas where proposals could have a significant impact on heritage assets. It was recommended that there should also be consideration of:

  • The effects on material assets of production of lithium batteries.
  • Options for disposing of end-of -life batteries to minimise environmental impact.

Changes of use in Centres

Concern was expressed with respect to the proposed new merged use class since use Class 10 includes nurseries which, in flood risk terms, fall into the most vulnerable use class category. It was noted that with respect to nurseries and schools, a high value is placed on community impacts that would be caused by their potential loss or damage during a flood as well as the vulnerability of the occupants.

Port development

The SA Update notes that no new or additional impacts have been identified under the proposed new PDR for ports as it is unclear what additional development could be carried out under the changes. With respect to this finding, it was suggested that further details on the type of development and activities that could take place would be useful to allow an assessment of environmental impacts to be carried out, or that reassessment should be undertaken once a clearer idea of potential additional types of development is available.

It was also recommended that Habitats Regulations Appraisal should be carried out as port development and activities have potential to affect marine European sites.

Sustainability Appraisal matrices

The SA Update included matrices setting out potential effects of reasonable alternatives in relation to: charging upstands in off-street car parks; on-street/kerbside charging; and moveable outdoor furniture on public road adjacent to food and drink premises. Although these matrices were welcomed, it was suggested that the assessment findings of all the proposed Phase 2 changes should be included.

Other Assessments

A number of partial and draft impact assessments were presented in Annexes B – F to the consultation paper.

Question 38 – Do you have any comments on the partial and draft impact assessments undertaken on these draft Phase 2 proposals?

Only four respondents made substantive comments at Question 38.

Annex B: Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)

While it was acknowledged that increased PDR is intended to reduce burdens on planning authorities, it was observed that there would also be a reduction in planning fee income. It was argued that:

  • The potential extent of lost income and resulting impacts on planning services should be assessed.
  • If relaxations are limited to prior notifications, planning authorities will still require significant resources.

Also with respect to the partial BRIA, it was suggested that the option of leaving PDR as it is could undermine opportunities to repurpose existing buildings and act against projects intended to regenerate town and city centres.

Annex C: Draft Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) Record

The consultation paper acknowledges that 'there is potential for certain measures under consideration to have negative impacts if taking them forward leads to uncontrolled provision of certain development/ equipment/ structures on or adjacent to pavements'. It goes on to undertake to seek views on this point – and on the EqIA more generally – through the Phase 2 consultation.

Two 'third sector - active travel' respondents commented on the draft EqIA record and, specifically, on the statement on the extent/level of EQIA required. It was argued that determining real impacts will require extensive work with disabled people and that an appropriate consultation needs to be accessible and to use non-technical language.

It was also suggested that:

  • Any measures to encourage use of EVs at the expense of people who walk or cycle risks making economic inequalities worse.
  • While designated areas are afforded protections, there is no overarching strategy on how necessary infrastructure is delivered to create good places, including places outwith designated areas. Since there is a correlation between areas of higher income and designated areas, PDR changes may disproportionately impact disadvantaged communities.

Question 39 – Do you have any suggestions for additional sources of information on the potential impacts of the proposals that could help inform our final assessments?

Ten respondents answered Question 39, with general suggestions including that experience of reforming PDR in other parts of UK or further afield could help inform final impact assessments.

With respect to PDR for EV charging infrastructure, it was recommended that development should be aligned with Historic Environment Policy for Scotland and with protections set out in the Historic Environment Scotland document 'Scotland's Scheduled Monuments'. It was also recommended that the Scottish Government should gather views on potential impacts on particularly sensitive landscapes, such as World Heritage Sites, conservation areas, and archaeological sites.

Other suggestions for specific sources of advice or information included:

  • The English Heritage report 'Heritage at Risk: Conservation Areas' for information on how a series of small changes can lead 'to slow but irreversible decline' in the qualities of a conservation area.
  • The Edinburgh Urban Design Panel for advice on how new developments can maintain the quality of the public realm.

A 'third sector - active travel' respondent offered to share their own work around 'street clutter'.

With respect to PDR for encouraging commercial to residential conversion in town centres, suggested sources of information included:



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