A court of appeal judgement on 25 March 2011 has important and immediate consequences for planning control over demolition. 

This judgement has quashed paragraphs 2(1)(a) to (d) of the Town & Country Planning (Demolition - description of buildings) Direction 1995 (contained in DOE circular 10/95). 

This means that demolition of the following is now classed as 'development' and brings them into line with the treatment of residential buildings generally: 

• demolition of a listed building

• a building in a conservation area

• building which is a scheduled monument

• a building that is not a dwelling house

• a building adjoining a dwelling house 

Permitted development rights for the above forms of development now apply under Part 31 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. 

On this basis if the proposed development is not being undertaken in conjunction with a planning application for the redevelopment of a site, a prior notification application is required to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority to check whether the Council requires prior approval of the method of demolition for the following forms of demolition: 

• any building which is a listed building

• any building in a conservation area

• any building which is a scheduled monument

• any freestanding domestic or non domestic building exceeding 50 cubic metres (measured externally)

• any non domestic building adjoining a dwellinghouse

• any dwellinghouse 

Please note that this requirement is in addition to any other form of consent required for demolition such as Listed Building Consent. 

If the demolition is being undertaken in conjunction with a redevelopment project the proposed demolition works should be included within the proposal and referred to in the description of the development. 

In addition the court of appeal has also concluded that demolition works come within the scope of the EIA directive. The effect is that where demolition works are likely to have significant effects on the environment, the Local Planning Authority must issue a screening opinion on whether an environmental impact assessment is required.

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