Changes to planning rules make councils powerless to stop existing buildings being turned into schools

From 30 May 2013, changes to the “Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order” (TCPGPDO) mean that it will be almost impossible to stop an an existing building and its grounds being used as a “state school”. The TCPGPDO is the document which lists those things which can be done without applying to the local planning authority (generally the local council) for planning permission – in effect it gives them planning permission automatically.  Although the local planning authority can still impose requirements relating to traffic, noise and contamination risks, it will struggle to stand in the way of the principle of the change.

The new “class K” of permitted development is defined  as follows:

“K Development consisting of a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage to use as a state-funded school, from a use falling within Classes B1 (business), C1 (hotels), C2 (residential institutions), C2A (secure residential institutions) and D2 (assembly and leisure) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order.

Development not permitted

K.1 Development is not permitted by Class K where—

(a)     the site is or forms part of a military explosives storage area;

(b)     the site is or forms part of a safety hazard area;

(c)     the building is a listed building or a scheduled monument.


K.2 Development is permitted by Class K subject to the following conditions—

(a)     the site is to be used as a state-funded school and for no other purpose, including any other purpose falling within Class D1 (non-residential institutions) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order, except to the extent that the other purpose is ancillary to the primary use of the site as a state-funded school;

(b)     before beginning the development, the developer shall apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the local planning authority will be required as to—

(i)     transport and highways impacts of the development;

(ii)     noise impacts of the development; and

(iii)     contamination risks on the site,

and the provisions of paragraph N shall apply in relation to any such application.”


  1 comment for “Changes to planning rules make councils powerless to stop existing buildings being turned into schools

  1. Mike Hargreaves
    June 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    This new General Permitted Development Order is badly thought out, it pays no consideration to development in the Green Belt and allows Free schools to open in inappropriate places that normal planning rules would not allow.

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