The GPDO has been subject to its fair share of controversy over the years as the Government seeks to balance state control with the perceived extent of the potential impact arising from a proposed development. The recent introduction of allowing landowners to develop upwards in the airspace above existing properties has been no exception with many vocal opponents to the new powers. Allowing landowners to maximise development potential in the airspace above existing properties chimes with the objectives of Section 11 of the NPPF which seeks to promote the effective use of land in meeting the need for homes and other uses. In parallel, achieving high-quality design has been thrust up the Government agenda in recent years with paragraph 126 of the NPPF confirming that the creation of high-quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve.
There is then, an enviable dichotomy that policy and those implementing it must balance, the aspirations of achieving high-quality design (the beauty) and allowing landowners to use land efficiently, by taking advantage of permitted development rights in the GPDO (the beast). It is this balance that decision-makers have been grappling with since the introduction of these powerful upwards extensions. Our planning team have been researching the impact on decision-making for prior approval applications for upwards extensions of existing properties, you can see our analysis of this controversial permitted development right here.
In summary, contextually responsive design still matters, what does that mean for you and your lofty aspirations to extend your property? Well, it is important to note that simply satisfying the prescribed parameters set out in the GPDO will not be enough to secure consent. Critically, consideration of the impact of the development on the amenity of neighbouring properties and the prevailing character in the surrounding locality must be factored in.
Demonstrating an understanding of the local context of your intended development and designing appropriately is essential. Having a professional team on board who can advise on design and an appropriate planning strategy can save time and cost in the planning process. Please get in touch if you have a development project that requires professional design and planning assistance.