IMPORTANT: New Part 1 of the GPDO for WALES coming into force on 30/09/2013 …

With respect to WALES only, the following new Statutory Instrument (SI) will replace Part 1 of the GPDO on 30/09/2013:

WALES - Part 1 of the GPDO - New Legislation:

  • September 2013: SI 2013 No. 1776 - The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2013 (link).

WALES - Part 1 of the GPDO - New Guidance Documents:

  • July 2013: Permitted development for householders - Technical Guidance (link).
  • July 2013: Planning: a guide for householders (link).

Notes:

  • The letter from the Welsh Government to Chief Planning Officers introducing the new legislation can be viewed here.
  • The documents from the public consultation (which ran from 03/05/2013 to 14/06/2013), including the "Summary of Responses" and the "Validation Impact Assessment", can be viewed here.
  • When Part 1 of the GPDO in England was amended in 2008, these amendments did not apply to Wales.  As such, the current version of Part 1 of the GPDO in Wales is very similar to the pre-2008 version of Part 1 of the GPDO in England.
  • The new version of Part 1 of the GPDO in Wales (i.e. from 30/09/2013 onwards) is based upon the current version of Part 1 of the GPDO in England, but has a number of significant differences, as shown by the examples below.
  • Firstly, the Welsh legislation contains significantly more definitions than the English legislation, including definitions of "the highest part of the roof", the "height of the eaves", "the principal elevation", etc.  This is a significant improvement over the English legislation, for which such definitions were notably absent.
  • Secondly, the Welsh legislation incorporates some of the advice within the English "Technical Guidance" into the actual legislation itself.  For example, the English legislation uses the phrase "the width of the original dwellinghouse" and then relies on the English "Technical Guidance" to advise that this should be measured "at its widest point".  In contrast, the Welsh legislation uses the phrase "the width of the widest part of the original dwellinghouse".
  • Thirdly, the Welsh "Technical Guidance" has been made available before the Welsh legislation comes into force, rather than two years later.  In addition, the Welsh "Technical Guidance" contains more advice and more detailed illustrations than the English "Technical Guidance".
  • Fourthly, with the Welsh legislation, it's clear that a significant effort has been made to address some of the unintended aspects of the English legislation.  As an example of where this has made the Welsh legislation more permissive, both of the illustrations shown on page 27 (UPDATED) of the English "Technical Guidance", which appear to be unintentionally prevented by the English legislation, would be allowed by the Welsh legislation.  As an example of where this has made the Welsh legislation more restrictive, with reference to the Part 1 of the GPDO – The 10 Worst Permitted Development Loopholes document, loopholes number 10, 3, 2 would be prevented by the Welsh legislation, and loopholes number 9, 8, 5, 1 would be partly prevented by the Welsh legislation.
  • Fifthly, with the Welsh legislation, it's also clear that it was decided to disagree with a minority of the intended aspects of the English legislation.  As an example of where the Welsh legislation has been made more permissive, it would allow a two-storey side extension (if significantly set away from the side boundary), a single storey side extension on article 1(5) land, and a single storey rear extension with length 4m on a terrace house.  As an example of where the Welsh legislation has been made more restrictive, it would prevent a side dormer facing a highway (in most cases), a rooflight on article 1(5) land (on any elevation), and an outbuilding between a side elevation and a highway (unless significantly set away from the highway).
  • Conclusions: Overall, the Welsh legislation appears to be a significant improvement over the English legislation, particularly the fact that the Welsh "Technical Guidance" has been made available before the Welsh legislation comes into force, and the fact that a significant effort has been made to address some of the unintended consequences of the English legislation.  However, there are also some very significant missed opportunities.  In my opinion, it would have been far better if the Welsh legislation had been rewritten from first principles, rather than being based upon the English legislation.  It should be noted that the resulting Welsh legislation is relatively complicated to read and understand, which in my opinion is a result of trying to adjust and fix the English legislation, rather than starting from first principles.  It is also very disappointing that the Welsh legislation still contains a number of flaws from the English legislation, such as allowing a massive outbuilding (e.g. 300m2, see loophole number 9), allowing a 4m high wall along a boundary (see loophole number 4), not allowing a typical side infill extension (i.e. with length greater than 4m), and not allowing any Part 1 rights for flats (e.g. for a typical house converted into flats).