Proposed changes to the planning rules – new permitted development rights

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As from 30 May 2013, new changes have come into force in respect of further permitted development rights for certain building works and changes of use without the need to apply for planning permission. Despite most Council’s, including ourselves, having raised objections to these planned changes, this has nationally been brought in to encourage development to take place and speed up its delivery by removing local authority control in an attempt to revive the economy. There are a number of changes, which are as follows:

Single storey rear extension to houses:

At present, it is possible to build a 4 metre deep single storey rear extension onto the original rear wall of a detached house and a 3 metre deep single storey rear extension onto an attached house as permitted development, i.e. without the need for planning permission. This right remains, but a new procedure (called “prior approval”) is to be introduced which may allow extensions up to double this size without planning permission (up to 8 metres deep for a detached house and 6 metres deep for an attached house). This does not apply in conservation areas, though.

The process for all other extension works under Part 1 of the GPDO will remain the same (i.e. no more than half the garden area around the house etc), but anyone proposing a 3m-6m or 4m-8m extension must write and provide a plan and written description of the proposal. There is no planning application fee.

The Council is required to consult the immediately adjoining premises only, with a minimum consultation period of 21 days. If no objections are received from the consulted adjoining neighbours, the development can go ahead. If an adjoining neighbour objects, then the prior approval of the local planning authority is required. Planning Officers will then need to consider the impact of the development only on the amenity of the immediate neighbours. Other factors, such as green belt, design and appearance cannot be considered under this prior approval procedure. Only where there is clearly excessive harm to neighbouring amenity will Officers be in a position to refuse prior approval.

This whole process has to be done within a total of 42 days from first receipt of the information submitted, otherwise, no matter whether there is an objection from an immediate neighbour or from the Council, the development can proceed. There is a right of appeal against a refusal.

The legislation requires that any 3m-6m or 4m-8m extension “shall be completed on or before 30th May 2016″.  It is therefore a temporary additional permitted development right for 3 years only.

The legislation also requires that “the developer shall notify the local planning authority of the completion of the development as soon as reasonably practicable after completion”.

Download the application form – Prior Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension

Download the guidance notes – Prior Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension

Change of Use

(please note that none of the below changes of use are relevant to listed buildings, but they can be carried out in conservation areas).

•  Premises in Class B1(a) office use will be able to change to Class C3 residential use so long as the C3 use starts on or before 30 May 2016. This is only subject to a prior approval process whereby the developer shall apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval is required only in respect of flooding, highway and transport issues and contamination. There are no other considerations. The determination will have to be made by the Council within 56 days and in this case, a fee, believed at this stage to be £80.00, is required. There was an opportunity to be exempt from this permitted change of use and we as a Council made a strong case in order to protect our local town centre and employment areas. However, we, along with many others, were unsuccessful and only 17 authorities across England (including 11 inner London boroughs) have been given change of use exemption. Again, this is a temporary additional permitted development right in that no change of use can take place after 30 May 2016, but if the use has started before then, it can continue.

•  Parts of buildings under 150 metres within Class A1 – A5, B1, D1 and D2 will be permitted to change to a flexible use falling within Class A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional services), A3 (restaurants) or B1 (business). For a one off period of up to 2 years, the developer only needs to notify (and therefore there is no prior approval considerations) the Council beforehand and in this time period, it can move between other uses in this flexible use. After 2 years, the use reverts back. This applies even in the Local Plan key retail frontages. 

•  Agricultural buildings (cumulatively)|under 500 square metres in floor space used solely in agriculture before 3 July 2012 or for 10 years after that date, can change to a flexible use falling within Class A1-A3, B1 (business), B8 (storage and distribution), C1 (hotel) or D2 (assembly and leisure). This flexible use will then be classed as “sui generis” such that any further changes of use outside the flexible uses require planning permission. In the case where the floor space does not exceed 150 metres, the developer merely has to notify the Council of the change. If it exceeds 150 metres, the developer has to apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval is required and we can only take account of flooding, highway and transport issues, noise and contamination can be considered through consultation with statutory undertakers. Therefore there are no other considerations. The determination has to be made by the Council within 56 days.  

•  Buildings within Class B1, C1, C2, C2a, D1 and D2 will be able to change to a state funded school. The developer shall apply to the Council for a determination as to whether prior approval but we can only consider against  highway and transport issues, noise and contamination. There are no other considerations. The determination will have to be made by the Council within 56 days.

•   The use of any building as a state-funded school for a single academic year will be permitted. It then reverts back to its previous use at the end of the academic year. The site must however, be approved for such purpose by the relevant Minister.

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Offices

 Increases Permitted Development threshold to erect, extend or alter office premises from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016. The developer must notify us in writing when the development is complete

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Shops, Catering, Professional or Financial Services 

Increases PD threshold to erect, extend or alter a shop, catering, professional or financial services establishment from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016.
 The exclusion of development within 2 metres of the boundary of the curtilage is removed during the same period except in relation to premises which adjoin land or buildings in residential use. The developer must notify us in writing when the development is complete.

Temporary Increased Thresholds for Industrial and Warehouse Use Classes 

 Increases PD threshold to erect, extend or alter industrial and warehouse premises from 25% of gross floor space or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser) to 50% or 200 square metres. The new permitted development right is temporary and will expire on 30th May 2016. Developers must notify us of completion.

Telecoms Installations

The construction, installation or replacement of telegraph poles, cabinets or lines for fixed-line broadband services will not require prior approval in Conservation Areas for a 5 year period. Development must be completed before 30th May 2018.

Extensions permitted to temporary schools

Buildings which qualify for the right to change temporarily to school use are also given the benefit of existing permitted development rights which allow schools to carry out building works (including the erection, extension or alteration of buildings and the provision of hard surfaces) subject to various conditions and limitations.
 This will apply from the date we are notified by the relevant Minister that the site has been approved for school use.

 

Find out more about the planning process and planning applications

 

Museum wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Chairman, Conservation and listed buildings, Councillors, Grants, Local business, Media, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey has secured a £1.65 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for a major development project, ‘The Museum at the Core’. The scheme, which will total £2.5 million, will extend and develop the museum on its existing site, making both the building and the collections more accessible to all.

The project brings together the majority of the museum’s collections on one site, together with the creation of a community/education room, a new temporary exhibition gallery and an ‘Explore’ gallery providing access to the reserve collections. The additional space above the library in 37 Sun Street will create a wonderful cultural centre for local people and visitors in the heart of Waltham Abbey.

Tip – to view all the photos in a slideshow, click on a picture then click start slideshow (in the bottom right of the frame).

Developed jointly by the museum team with design company Outside Studios and architects Hawkins\ Brown, the project will see the existing museum buildings remodelled, the installation of a lift to provide step-free access throughout the entire building and improved visitor facilities. The oldest part of the museum, an historic Grade II* listed Tudor timber framed house dating to 1520, will be interpreted and displayed as a significant historical structure in its own right. The existing permanent exhibition galleries will be redisplayed, with a new selection of themes and objects.

Securing the additional space in 37 Sun Street over the Waltham Abbey library has been made possible by a capital funding commitment of £250,000 by Epping Forest District Council. The acquisition of the space has been assisted by Howard Green, of the property management agency Duncan Phillips Ltd, who acting on behalf of the vendors, made the original approach to the museum.

For the museum team this is the culmination of 3 years of work behind the scenes developing the scheme’s proposals, which have won wide backing from councillors, community groups, professional bodies and funding organisations as well as our existing audiences.

Councillor Brian Rolfe, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council said: “This grant award is a fantastic reflection on how our Museum Service is recognised by major funders such as the Heritage Lottery Fund. Our users have been telling us how much they value the services we offer but would love for us to make the museum bigger. The fact that access to the upstairs galleries has only been by the central staircase has always been a real problem for our ability to provide a fully- accessible service and this scheme now allows us to deal with this in the most satisfying manner.”

The museum also runs a popular programme of family activities and events but has long been hampered by the lack of a designated room in which these can take place leading to events having to be held in gallery areas and weather permitting in the museum garden. The creation of a new room will allow this programme to develop and support the work the museum undertakes with schools and other educational and community groups allowing the museum to become even more of a community facility.

‘The Museum at the Core’ project is also designed to increase opportunities for volunteer involvement in the running of the museum. The HLF funding will allow for two new posts focused on audience development and supporting volunteer engagement, to be created and the acquisition of a new collections management system, which will enable the museum to make more information about the collections available to the public on line and through gallery terminals.

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the East of England said: “We are delighted to award this grant to Epping Forest District Museum, which will allow for a enhanced visitor experience for everyone. With full access to the museum’s collections and a new community learning space the museum’s track record of excellent exhibitions and events will only get better. We look forward to the completed project.”

It is also anticipated that the larger museum will act as a significant tourism attraction in the heart of Waltham Abbey along with the range of other attractions in and around the town.

Proposals are for the museum to close in the autumn of 2013 to allow for clearance of the current displays and the main building works with the new museum re-opening to the public for Easter 2015.

During the closed period the museum will continue to provide services through other buildings in the district and through the Lowewood Museum in Hoddesdon, which has been operated by the Epping Forest District Museum team since February 2012.

North Weald Airfield Control Tower is now officially ‘historic’

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, North Weald Airfield, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Residents, Your area, Your community

It is now a Grade II Listed Building

Last year an English Heritage Assessment Team visited North Weald Airfield. They took a close look at the Control Tower, which is a Type 5223a/51 tower dating from 1952. On the basis of their recommendations, it is now a Grade II Listed Building:

  • Architectural interest: one of only seven of this type of post-war control tower to be constructed, the tower, which is larger than its predecessors, has an imposing presence and is illustrative of the development of the design of control towers in the face of increased reliance on electronic navigational aids in the post-war period;
  • Degree of survival: an intact plan, with sympathetic replacement windows, it is the best surviving example of its type on a fighter station, and amongst the best surviving overall;
  • Historic interest: a rare physical reminder of the role of RAF Fighter Command in the early years of the Cold War and its re-equipment with jet interceptors;
  • Group value: sited on a fighter station with an illustrious record during World War II, it has group value with the Grade II listed former Officers’ Mess.

Other similar towers were at heavy bomber bases: Upper Heyford, Brize Norton, Fairford, Mildenhall, and Greenham Common, plus Biggin Hill, which was a fighter base. Upper Heyford and Greenham Common are also listed. Mildenhall was demolished in 2004.

The Tower and Gate Guardian

We are delighted that our Tower has received this recognition as a historically significant building. Only last week we hosted a visit by 48 members of the Thornwood Seniors, a local community group, who spent time in the Tower before their tour of the Airfield and hangars.

The two large rooms are frequently used by the Air Ambulance and other organisations for meetings, training courses and functions. They are available for hire. Our Tower Facilities Hire leaflet can be downloaded from the Information for Event Organisers section of the Airfield website at www.northwealdairfield.info.

The Thornwood Seniors recently visited the Tower during their tour of the Airfield

Home Energy Conservation Act Further Report 2013

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As part of the amended Home Energy Conservation Act, Local Authorities are required to submit a further report on planned energy efficiency measures in their area.

Read the Epping Forest District Council HECA further report 2013

Find out more about energy efficiency

 

Proposed changes to charging for pre-planning application advice

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Housing, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Planning, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

As from 1 April 2013, the Council’s charges on pre-planning application advice will be changing to include a greater scope of development types. Please see the attached document which sets out these new charges and the procedure for seeking advice.

View the new pre-planning application advice fees April 2013

 

Find out more about the planning process and pre-application advice

Learning with Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Councillors, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Doing business with the council, Epping, Health, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Playschemes, Procurement, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Countrycare launches environmental education service to show young people the value of the green spaces and wildlife around them.

The Countrycare team is offering an environmental education service to schools that can work with their curriculum, in both science and arts, to help engage young people with the environment. Environmental education sessions can be run on Local Nature Reserves, in classrooms or in school grounds, and we cater for all ages.

We want young people to grow up not just enjoying the countryside but respecting it as well.

Learning with Countrycare

We offer a range of projects including

  • Creating wildlife sanctuaries in school grounds
  • Building bird boxes
  • Practical projects on Local Nature Reserves
  • Tree ecology
  • Tree planting
  • Invertebrate identification
  • Guided walks

If none of these activities fit in with your syllabus we can mould lessons to fit your needs.

Find out more

Download the brochure Learning with Countrycare (pdf 1MB)

For more information about the environmental education service at Countrycare and the competitive costs call 01992 788203 or email contactcountrycare@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Find out what other work Countrycare does the website at http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/

You can also follow Countrycare on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EFcountrycare/

Countrycare volunteer day Tuesday 22 January cancelled

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Due to the adverse weather the Countrycare volunteer day on Tuesday 22 January 2013 has been cancelled.

Countrycare is sorry to disappoint those of you who were intending to jump in a pond and clear some reeds tomorrow in North Weald, but the task has been cancelled due to weather conditions. We apologise to anyone who had been looking forward to an ice cold dip. Thursday’s volunteer task is still expected to go ahead.

Countrycare restores parish boundary hedgerow at Bobbingworth Nature Reserve

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Councillors, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Health, Local plan / planning our future, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Last Thursday, 10 January 2013,  21 volunteers and Countrycare staff planted 600 trees on the Bobbingworth Nature Reserve (former landfill site) to mark the parish boundary between Moreton and Bobbingworth. A study of old maps confirms that the area of the reserve that lies in Moreton used to be a wood, Moreton Wood. The wood disappeared sometime between 1886 and 1912 but the parish boundary remains the same.

Moreton parish boundary 1843 to 1893

Moreton parish boundary 1843 to 1893

Moreton parish boundary 1891 to 1912

Moreton parish boundary 1891 to 1912

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This addition of 600 trees makes the total of trees planted on the nature reserve close to 6,000 since 2008. Native species were locally sourced and dominated by hawthorn with a scattering of hazel, dogwood, dogrose, spindle and guilder rose.  Shallow rooting species were used as the planting was mainly on the “cap”, the membrane that covers the former landfill area.

In time the hedge will provide shelter and food for birds and also a natural corridor across the site for movement of wildlife.

Volunteers worked tirelessly in very cold and muddy conditions. An enormous “thank you” to them all from Countrycare staff.

If you would like to volunteer with Countrycare call 01992 788203 for more information or email contactcountrycare@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

 

One Business Briefing – brimming with news for local businesses

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Animal welfare, Buckhurst Hill, Building control, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Commercial properties, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Doing business with the council, Drainage, Energy efficiency, Epping, Grants, Gypsy and traveller, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Media, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Planning, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The January 2013 edition of ‘One Business Briefing’ is now available.

In this edition Reed in Partnership gives local businesses advice on how they can use Government funding to get staff job relevant qualifications at no cost to the employer or employee. It also introduces MP Eleanor Laing’s new Business Forum, reports on current tourism development work, including a key event on 31 January 2013 to develop tourism within the area and much more.

Read the January 2013 edition – One Business Briefing

Produced by Epping Forest District Council, One Epping Forest and local partners the briefing provides information for businesses and those looking to start up in business in the Epping Forest district. The briefing is designed to report on business funding opportunities / access to finance, business support, workshops / events for business, town centre news and other local economic development initiatives.

If you would like to receive future editions of ‘One Business Briefing’ by email please email economicdevelopment@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Treasure finds go on display at Epping Forest District Museum

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Epping, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

Tudor period silver gilt Crucifix

Every year new finds of historic artefacts from around the Epping Forest District are found and reported under the Portable Antiquities scheme which gives the museum the opportunity to acquire them for our collections. Many of these finds are donated by the finders and a number are purchased, often with the support of funding from organisations such as The Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, The Headly Trust and The Art Fund.

A selection of the more recent items acquired for the Museum are now on display. These include:

  • A Tudor period silver gilt crucifix which once decorated a larger object, possibly a casket or a portable shrine. Found at North Weald.
  • A selection of items from two bronze-workers hoards, dating to 1500- 600 BC. A number of these hoards of broken ancient tools which were collected for recycling by ancient metalworkers have recently come to light. The items on show include fragments of axe, sword blade and spear head. These all come from hoards found in the Lavers area.
  • Also from the Lavers is a Halfpenny of Richard II (1377 – 1399) – This was made as a silver coin but has been given a coating of gold by someone.  This was either to pretend it was a gold coin or possibly to be used as a piece of jewellery.
    A Halfpenny of Richard II (1377 – 1399)

These and other new acquisitions are on display in the Museum’s archaeology gallery where visitors can also see a range of other historic treasures belonging to the museum including an Iron Age blacksmith’s hoard from Waltham Abbey, finds from Roman Chigwell (Little London) as well as the fabulous medieval Waltham Abbey Bible and the stunning Tudor panelled room with its links to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.

Entry to the museum is free.

The current temporary exhibition “Reflections of the Past: Ray Sears’ Historic Photographs of Waltham Abbey” is on show until the 26th January 2013.

For opening hours and details of our Christmas closure dates please visit the Museum website on www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/museum

Fragment of an ancient tool

Notes for editors

 For further information contact Tony O’Connor, Epping Forest District Museum Officer at aoconnor@eppingforestdc.gov.uk