The planning situation in respect of demolitions has recently changed due to a Court of Appeal ruling. This now means that the demolition of virtually all buildings will require planning permission or prior approval; before the ruling only dwellings were involved. The Government may issue new legislation in the future but for now the procedures to follow are given below.
If you are applying for planning permission and the development requires the demolition of an existing building then you should include this in the description of the development. There is no need to make a prior approval application. If the only development is the demolition or you wish to carry out the demolition in advance of obtaining planning permission, an application for a determination as to whether prior approval is required will need to be submitted (part 31 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995). This will also be the case if you have an existing permission for a site where buildings will be demolished but demolition wasn’t included in the application. The only buildings exempt are those with a volume of less than 50 cubic metres.
A prior approval determination is also required for the demolition of listed buildings and those in conservation areas in addition to the other consents to demolish.
The court ruling also means that an Environmental Impact Assessment can be required for demolition, this should only be so where the buildings are large scale, the area sensitive and the environmental affects significant. However it is advisable to seek a screening opinion from us if there is any doubt. From now on assessment of any demolition required at an application site should form part of an Environment Impact Statement if one is required.
We are aware that demolition is already controlled under other legislation therefore we will be trying to avoid duplicating this. Prior approval covers the method of demolition and the restoration of the site. The method is also covered by Building Standards under the Building Act 1984, we will liaise with them to minimise duplication. In some cases it is possible that planning will seek a higher standard of site restoration than would be expected under the Building Act.