HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 cc1052-3W
Geraint Davies

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will publish his consultation document on the Use Classes Order that was promised in the Planning Green Paper. [30819]

Ms Keeble

We are today publishing a consultation document entitled "Consultation on possible changes to the Use Classes Order and temporary uses provisions" This completes the series of consultation papers that together are designed to deliver a radical reform of the planning system.

Planning permission is required for a material change of use. However, certain uses are so similar, for example in terms of noise, traffic, appearance and parking, that there is no obvious reason why planning permission for change of use from one to the other should be required. The Use Classes Order (UCO) excludes from planning control any change of use where both the existing and proposed use fall within the same class. The General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) provides further flexibility by classifying certain moves between the Use Classes as permitted development, so that a developer does not need to apply for planning permission.

It is important that the Use Classes Order should be up to date and relevant and reflect current policy priorities. In our view, the order and related GPDO provisions should be constructed in a way which allows the maximum possible freedom from planning control consistent with delivering planning policy and wider objectives, including protecting amenity.

The consultation document sets out a range of options for changes to the use class provisions and temporary use provisions. We will consider responses carefully before deciding on the most appropriate way forward.

Copies of the consultation document will be placed in the Library of the House.