'Twas the week before Christmas, and I don't mean to grouse

but nothing was quiet, not even the mouse*;

New PD rights were confirmed by DLUHC with care;

even though Historic England said they shouldn't be there;

Then Class E Decisions and First Homes as well,

Yes, it's almost Christmas - I'm sure you can tell!

Regular readers may recall, I have a bit of history with DLUHC releasing important information whilst I am (or trying to be) on holiday. Well, I am (not particularly) pleased to say that they have done it again! This post is a quick round-up of the events of the last week.**

So, what festive treats did DLUHC have in store for us this year... well, let's unwrap a few presents and see:

1.  Temporary Covid PD Rights are made permanent

On Monday, DLUHC announced that a number of temporary permitted development rights, introduced to assist the hospitality industry during the pandemic would be made permanent. 

The rights in question, according to the DULHC press release are:

The Right for markets to be held by or on behalf of local councils

Originally introduced in June 2020, this PD Right allowed markets to be held by or on behalf of local councils for an unlimited amount of days, including the provision of moveable structures related to this use. The right excludes markets on sites designated as Scheduled Monuments and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Rights for moveable structures in the grounds of pubs, cafes, restaurants and historic visitor attractions

Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to erect a moveable structure for an unlimited number of days without the need for a planning application .

Listed pubs, restaurants, cafes and historic visitor attractions will be able to erect a moveable structure for 120 days in a 12-month period, subject to prior approval by the local council.

According to this excellent piece by Planning Resource, the PD rights have been introduced despite objections from Historic England suggesting that the decision to make the rights permanent were premature. 

2.  Use Class E gets a reprieve from the Court of Appeal 

Also on Monday, the Court of Appeal handed down its ruling in R on the Application of Rights: Community: Action v The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.  

The Court upheld the decision of the lower court, meaning that both Use Class E and the PD rights allowing upward extensions of residential and commercial buildings, and to demolish and rebuild certain buildings as residential homes, are now here to stay. 

There is an excellent Planning Resource summary of the decision available here

For those interested in the detail of the case, the full judgment can also be accessed on Bailii here.

3. Template s.106 Clauses for First Homes are Published 

This morning, DLUHC decided that Christmas Eve, Eve, was the perfect time to publish the long awaited template s.106 Agreement clauses for First Homes. The relevant provisions can be found here.

I have not looked at them in detail*!, as yet, but from a first glance, they will require significantly more tailoring to suit an individual project or local authority then we might originally have hoped. 

They do, however, contain, the promised mortgagee exclusion provisions and the ability for buyers to sell on the open market, in the event that their home cannot be resold as a First Home. This will, however, trigger a pretty significant financial contribution to the Council - equivalent to the same % discount at which the property was purchased. 

4. Community Ownership Funds - first round successful bidders announced

And finally, earlier today, the 21 lucky projects that have qualified for funding from the Community Ownership Fund has been released. DLUHC's press release, containing the full list can be found here.

Right, now I really must dash... the credits are starting to roll on the muppets and I promised a certain small person that we would attempt to make a gingerbread house this afternoon. Have a fantastic holiday season and I will see you in the New Year!

So... altogether now...

"It's in the singing of a street corner choir
It's going home and getting warm by the fire
It's true where ever you find love
It feels like Christmas...."

* for clarity, the mouse is symbolic...and not at all there because I needed a rhyme... or at least it will be, once I have figured out what it actually symbolises. Possibly email?

** quick being the operative word - as I only have until the end of the Muppets Christmas Carol to finish it..... light the lamp, not the rat! 

*! We are already on the ghost of Christmas future and my toddler is getting antsy