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Planning a Way Forward in 2021

Planning consultant David Kemp BSc (Hons) MRICS Barrister* (*non-practising) and Director at DRK Planning Ltd, comments

On Wednesday 6 January 2021, England’s third national lockdown came into force. The new restrictions will last until the end of March unless the Government decides otherwise in the meantime.

For property investors and developers, this brings opportunities and challenges. For investors already experiencing unpaid rent from tenants and uncertain returns, and developers needing to consider the completion of their projects on site and obtaining supplies, forethought and careful project planning will call for a diligent and structured approach to solving the usual property problems brought once again into starker focus by these emergency measures.

In this article, I look at some new areas of opportunity and some of the issues around these points. It is not intended to capture all of the issues that you may face. However, it will hopefully serve as a reminder that there is still scope for deals and progress and, whatever the circumstances, the New Year brings new opportunities if you know where to look and how to respond.

The government chief planner’s advice
This is as good a point as any to start as the chief planner’s newsletter to Local Authorities from December 2020 often gives an insight into the key changes in 2021. It of course pre-dates the current lockdown but there are three key topics to be aware of, all of which will be extremely relevant to new opportunities for development and growth:

  • New Prior Approval right to move from Use Class E (commercial) to Use Class C3 (residential)
  • New Conditions to existing and emerging PD rights
  • Assessing local housing need

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