New demolition and rebuild PD rights for unused buildings

Legislation Update
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With prior approval from the Local Planning Authority, Class ZA permitted development rights will soon enable the demolition of either: a single purpose-built detached block of flats; or any other single detached building falling within use classes B1(a), B1(b) or B1(c). In either case, the existing building must not exceed 1,000 square metres in footprint, and must have been vacant for a period of 6 months prior to the application for prior approval. In replacement of the demolished building, the PD rights will permit the construction of either: a purpose-built detached block of flats; or a single purpose-built detached dwellinghouse. Class ZA also covers operations ‘reasonably necessary’ for the proposed demolition and replacement construction. These include works to remove and reinstate access, egress, plant and services.

As with all new permitted development rights, there is a comprehensive list of criteria to which the existing site and building must adhere in order to benefit from Class ZA. In particular, the building must have been in existence on 12 March 2020 and have been constructed on or before 31 December 1989. The rights also do not apply to buildings in protected areas such as conservation areas, AONBs, National Parks and SSSIs. On sites which do meet the criteria, developers will be able to construct new buildings with two additional storeys above the number of storeys of the existing building, so long as the new building does not exceed the footprint of the one it replaces.

A full copy of the regulations, which come into force on 31 August 2020, can be found here: