Planning applications submitted on and after 6th December 2023 will be subjected to an increase in fees as follows:

  1. 35% increase in planning application fees for major applications. (Major applications are more than 10 units or sites of more than one hectare)
  2. 25% increase for other applications (this includes prior approval applications, householder and minor applications)
  3. No more “free-go” for repeat applications. Unless the application was refused or withdrawn in the 12 months before 6/12/23 and if all the other conditions of free-go are met.
  4. No ringfencing of planning fees. Fees will not be safeguarded to stay within the planning department, they become general income.

It is also of note that fees are now set to rise annually with inflation from 1 April 2025 (measured by the Consumer Price Index from the prior September), but will be capped at 10%.

The planning guarantee is “the government’s policy that no application should spend more than a year with decision-makers, including any appeal”. This means that in practice planning applications should be decided within 26 weeks, this is to be reduced to 16 weeks for non-major applications, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The Department for Levelling Up. Housing and Communities hopes that by increasing fees, there will be more resources to improve the capability for a quality and timely planning service. However, the Government has back-tracked on a plan to allow planning departments to use the increased revenue for themselves, this feels like an opportunity missed.

Consider a planning application for 15 homes for a detailed scheme which currently costs £6,930 (£462 per dwelling x 15) this will increase to £9,355.50 or a £200 homeowner application fee, which will rise to £250 (not including the planning portal fees). These are not insignificant increases.

The Planning Portal has explained how the Fee increase will be implemented which is critically important for those paying by BACS or Cheque.

The Portal guidance states:

“Where payment is being made by bank transfer or cheque – Using these methods takes longer for payment to reach us, be processed, and complete. Therefore, when using these methods (either directly or via nomination), you should ensure that the payment is received by us in time:”

The payment needs to be processed before the 6th December deadline, therefore critically the following timeframes should be allowed for:

“Bank transfer – Please allow at least 5 full working days – Make the payment no later than 28 November 2023

Cheque – Please allow at least 10 full working days – Send the cheque using first-class post no later than 21 November 2023”

Our advice is if you have an application that could or should be ready to submit before the 6th of December (especially a major one!), let’s work together to get it in, otherwise there is a need to keep wary of the quick passing of time and get applications submitted before the next increase in April 2025.



McLoughlin Planning was delighted to succeed at the appeal for 45 new homes to be built in the Gloucestershire village of Gotherington, on the outskirts of Cheltenham. Appeal for 45 Homes in Gotherington. This appeal is now being referred to as a landmark appeal in terms of referencing Tewkesbury’s planned 5-year housing supply shortfall.

Five-year housing supply is a figure that is generated by Local Authorities to give the best guess on how many homes they need to create to meet future needs. The calculation is derived primarily from census figures and patterns in human reproduction and migration.

It’s an important calculation in our society because homes cannot and will not be created quickly enough if we do not have an idea of what the demand will be. In 2021/22 around 233,000 new homes were supplied, against a calculation that 340,000 are needed each year, of which 145,000 should be affordable. (

This is why one of the outcomes of this appeal is so significant. By Tewkesbury Borough Council admitting it does not know its 5-year housing supply figure (best guess is they have 3.39 years), it presents an opportunity for landowners in the Tewkesbury district to present their land for development, knowing they have at least one of the consideration factors on their side. Tewkesbury no longer has carte blanche to bat away applications on the basis of needs already being met.

In many respects, this is an uncomfortable lack of action on strategy on Tewkesbury’s part, which was demonstrated by McLoughlin Planning’s Managing Director Nathan McLoughlin ably supported by Joe Seymour at a challenging appeal on a site in Gotherington on behalf of .

This demonstrates the skill the McLoughlin Planning team has in strategic development applications and at appeal. If you would like any advice or for  Nathan McLoughlin to take a look at your land for an initial free assessment, please don’t hesitate to call us, email, or make an online booking.








Possibly Yes!

We are pleased to have secured planning permission for a series of wildlife ponds with the Dorset Council.

The application for Wildlife ponds required planning permission because of their need for engineering operations to implement. The initial concept was to introduce a single pond within the site, however, the original application had to be withdrawn due to concerns around landscape impact.

The key issues raised throughout the application:

  • Larger centred around landscape impact.
  • Impacts on existing biodiversity on the site.

After consultation the scheme was updated to include 3 smaller ponds, this was done to ensure that there was greater habitat diversity and to create additional complementary habitats as well as the main features. The 3 smaller ponds were all connected to allow water flow and of different sizes to promote greater diversity.

Working alongside Petra Ulrik Landscape Architects to ensure that the proposal was sympathetic to the landscape and utilised native non-invasive species of planting to be consistent with the area’s existing character, whilst providing biodiversity enhancements. Having Petra on board from the start ensured that the proposal was developed with a clear understanding of how the proposal would alter the existing landscape and to ensure that native species were included at all stages.

The proposal offers useful insight into the possibilities of developing agricultural land for biodiversity net gain. By implementing a wildlife haven in this location the biodiversity and landscape character for the area are richer than if existing agricultural practices were to continue.  In our experience, providing wildlife ponds in a sympathetic manner adds both to the character and the biodiversity of the site and the wider setting. The pre-application process allowed for open discussions on the proposal’s concerns to overcome issues including landscape impacts at an early stage and ensure a smooth application process.

By working proactively with the Local Authority through the application life cycle we were able to ensure a smooth process where the application was determined within the statutory deadline.

Our experienced team can help you secure green infrastructure and other wildlife improvements in a wide range of circumstances.

📞 If you would like a FREE initial consultation call, then please get in touch!


Chris Fleming,

01242 895008

Tuesday 18 July saw the next step in Wiltshire Council’s review of its Core Strategy with the Wiltshire Council Local Plan Review being presented to Full Council. At this lively meeting, members agreed that it should move forward to the Regulation 19 Consultation and we thought it useful to summarise the key strategy points arising from it.

Given the number of site-finding platforms available on the market, we thought it timely to provide some context & nuance for those searching for new opportunities, whether large or small. Those who are familiar with the current Plan know that its settlement strategy is based on:

Principal Settlements
Market Towns
Local Service Centres
Large and Small Villages

Policy 1 of the Local Plan continues where its predecessor left off and the hierarchy remains largely unchanged as does the approach to new housing development. The new Plan looks to maintain its predecessor’s approach in directing new housing development to allocated sites (in the Plan or a Neighbourhood Plan) or to those locations with Settlement Boundaries. The exception is in Small Village locations where only “infill” will be supported (as these settlements have no defined boundaries).

Policy 2 The Plan’s overall housing target has dropped from earlier consultations, now running at 36,740 homes, as opposed to over 40,000 to 45,000 previously suggested in 2019. The Officer’s Report accompanying the plan reports the approximate distribution of housing is:

Principal Settlements – 40%
Market Towns – 36 %
Local Service Centres/Large and Small Villages – 22%

Policy 1 identifies the towns and villages which form the top three tiers of the Settlement Hierarchy. In terms of Large and Small Villages, these total 58 and 148 settlements respectively and require reading of the relevant parts of the Plan. Policy 2 provides more detail on exactly how development will be delivered.

The Regulation 19 Stage of the Plan is the critical part of the Plan-making process and those with land interests whether large or small be they greenfield or brownfield are strongly encouraged to get involved with this process to promote their interests.

Having reviewed the Plan, there are some interesting policy avenues to explore and development opportunities to explore and Nathan McLoughlin and his team would welcome the opportunity to discuss these with you.

Delays with the planning system are often cited as a barrier to commercial development, hindering the ability of successful companies to grow and expand their facilities. Whilst new industrial development requires careful consideration, there are substantial rights available to occupiers to extend their operational buildings without the need for planning permission. Understanding these rights is paramount as it allows permission to be more rapidly secured with less cost and risk than would otherwise be required via a planning application. We have recently obtained a Lawful Development Certificate with Cheltenham Borough Council for a new High Voltage (HV) Substation on a light industrial site in Cheltenham.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 – Part 7, Class H (“the GPDO”) allows for alterations and extensions to be carried out at industrial and warehouse sites without the need for planning permission. This is subject to the following criteria which this development satisfied fully:

  • The floor area of the building must not exceed 200 square metres;
  • The gross floor area of the original building must not be exceeded by 50% or 1,000 square metres, whichever is the lesser;
  • The height of any part of the new building must not exceed the height of any existing building on site, or 15 metres, whichever is lower;
  • The height of the building being extended or altered must not exceed the height of the building being extended or altered;
  • No part of the development can be within 5 metres of the site boundary;
  • The development must not lead to a reduction in the space available for parking or turning of vehicles.

It is often assumed that infrastructure such as HV substations will require full planning permission, but this decision shows that significant structures can often be constructed on industrial sites under permitted development in the correct circumstances. There are additional criteria for sites in Conservation Areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, none of which were applicable in this case.

Our experienced team can help you find the best route to securing infrastructure at industrial and warehouse sites.  If you would like an initial free consultation call, then please get in touch with Joe Seymour, or 01242 895008

The South Warwickshire Local Plan (SWLP) is an excellent case study for the current political battleground of whether to develop the green belt or not. Covering both Stratford on Avon and Warwick District Councils, it is a Plan which has its fair share of green belt land and difficult decisions to be made about the scale and location of growth.

Following the recent local elections, Stratford is now controlled by the Liberal Democrats (won from the Conservatives) and Warwick continues to have no single party in overall control but is governed by a Labour and Green coalition. The changes have led to an immediate delay in the next stage of the SWLP.

It was originally hoped that the SWLP would undertake a Preferred Options consultation in the summer, but this will no longer be the case as the Joint Strategic Committee needs to be reformed to reflect the changes in the political administrations in both Councils. Politics aside, the SWLP Team has been working through the significant 700-plus consultation responses on the Plan.

It will be interesting to see how the new Joint Strategic Committee and political administrations deal with SWLP and the thorny issue of Green Belt development. Crucially, Green Belt is currently high on the political agenda and appears to be something of an acid test of the Labour Party’s thinking about new housing in the green belt and the Conservative Party seemingly taking the opposite.

We are going to be watching this with considerable interest on behalf of clients as Local Plan Reviews are the only real opportunity to develop green belt land. While the delay is frustrating, it still leaves the door open for sites to be promoted, so if you would like to understand the situation in more detail please contact Nathan McLoughlin at 0773 6821475 or

We hope everyone has a very happy Christmas season.

Our offices close on Thursday 22nd December at 5.30 pm and will reopen on Tuesday 3rd January at 9 am.

All our best wishes for a wonderful 2023!

Finding development sites in any area is a challenge and the South Worcestershire Development Plan Review (SWDPR), Regulation 19 Version, has been out for two weeks now. We now have a detailed picture of where the SWDPR is looking to direct future patterns of growth. By sharing this with you, we are making your site finding task easier by telling where to look.

The SWDPR is a big document (weighing in at 356 pages) and to make it more manageable, we’ve created a summary document, extracting the key policy (SWDPR03) and pages from Annex 1, which crucially lists the various locations across the three LPAs where development can (and cannot take place). Thus providing you with a better understanding of the SWDPR approach to “urban areas” and “rural areas” and the various settlements within them.

Knowing where to look however, is only part of the equation, the other part is understanding whether the site has potential or not. Owing to our detailed understanding of the Plan and our experience in promoting sites and working with promotion teams, we can equally advise as to whether that site is the right one to promote.

As this is a Regulation 19 Version of the Plan, there is still time to make submissions, seeking the allocation of your site through the SWDPR process. We are advising several parties of this now, so we have a detailed understanding of the Plan and would be happy to discuss any other potential opportunity in time for the 13 December 2022 deadline.


If this is of interest please don’t hesitate to speak to any of these team membersNathan McLoughlin
Russell Smith
Katherine Brommage

#development #housing #planning

Since the introduction of the NPPF in 2012, the allowance to convert disused or redundant rural buildings has been around in one form or another. In its most recent form, paragraph 80 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) supports the principle of creating new dwellings through the conversion of redundant or disused buildings.

Despite this overarching National support from the Government to promote the creation of new homes from disused rural buildings, many Local Plans either are silent on the topic or include further requirements (in some instances onerous!) that applicants need to abide by. As the Local Plan is the starting point for decision making, being aware of what Local Plans require is crucial to the success of your project.

Given our wealth of experience working in Gloucestershire, a predominantly rural county with an abundance of agricultural and equestrian buildings – many of which are ideal for conversion into dwellings, we have briefly set out below our experience on how each of the local authorities approaches barn or other rural building conversions.

Cotswold District Council

The current Local Plan, which includes policy EC6, supports the conversion of rural buildings (note it does not restrict conversions solely to agricultural buildings) providing three criteria can be demonstrated.

  1. The building is structurally sound and capable of conversion
  2. The conversion would not cause conflict with existing farming operations
  3. The creation of a new dwelling would be compatible with extant uses at the site

In our experience, it is seldom the case that criteria b) and c) prevent a barn conversion and decisions in the Cotswold District tend to turn on the structural integrity of the building and the overall design of the conversion, which is governed by other policies.

Tewkesbury Borough Council

Tewkesbury’s Policy shares many similarities to Cotswold District Council. However, additional stipulations request the proposal preserves or enhance the landscape setting and that it mitigates impacts on protected species. Crucially, there is nothing in the policy that precludes the conversion of modern rural buildings (i.e. they do not necessarily have to be historic stone-built barns to be successfully converted).

Cheltenham Borough Council

Even though Cheltenham is predominantly an urban area, the Borough Council has a policy that deals specifically with the Conversion of Rural Buildings. The policy currently requires the following:

  1. be structurally sound and capable of conversion
  2. cause no harm to the character of the buildings or surrounding character
  3. not cause conflict with existing or planned uses nearby
  4. accord with other relevant policies in the Local Plan

Forest of Dean District Council

For one of the more rural districts within Gloucestershire, the Forest of Dean does not have a dedicated planning policy to determine the conversion of rural buildings.

This has led to some ambiguity over the issue of conversions in the Forest of Dean, but in our experience, if it can be demonstrated that the building in question is genuinely redundant, the Council has no choice but to fall back on the guidance within Paragraph 80 of the NPPF, leading to planning permission being granted.

Stroud District Council

Stroud can be considered to have the strictest policy position. Not only does a building need to be proven to be structurally sound, but it also needs to involve a building that “contributes to an established local character and sense of place”. Furthermore, there are six qualifying criteria none of which most redundant rural buildings are likely to meet.

This position is changing, with the Council amending its policies with the new Local Plan due for adoption in 2023. The six qualifying criteria on the current policy will be expanded to nine with one of them allowing the creation of new dwellings in rural locations if it involves “the re-use of an existing rural building”, to align itself with Paragraph 80 of the NPPF.

For the next 12 months Stroud District Council may continue to obstruct barn conversion applications, but providing the new Local Plan is adopted as drafted, the opportunities for barn conversions in Stroud will improve.

Gloucester City Council – no specific policy and no up-to-date Local Plan

Out of the six Gloucestershire local planning authorities, Gloucester is the area least likely for a rural building conversion opportunity. The emerging Local Plan is silent on this issue and in the event development of this nature presented itself, it would be determined solely by paragraph 80 of the NPPF.


What the above highlights are that whilst at a national level the support and intention is there to convert rural disused buildings, the devil is in the detail when it comes to individual requirements set out in the Local Plan.


At McLoughlin Planning we work on several rural development projects across the Country. If you have any questions about securing planning permission for a similar proposal you wish to discuss, then please contact Joe Seymour on 01242 895008 or

When Class E amalgamated several of the previous use classes in 2020, to allow for greater flexibility to switch between different commercial uses, it was hardly surprising that new change of use prior to approval permitted development rights would follow suit.

Sure enough, the one which caught the eyes of many was the introduction of Class MA (to replace Class O in the old version of the GPDO), to allow the conversion of vacant Class E commercial units into residential use. Suddenly, it wasn’t just offices in the firing line, but also retail, restaurants, storage, indoor sport and recreation, nurseries, and light industrial units.

Of course, like the previous Class O prior approval rights, there are restrictions and conditions in place which applicants need to comply with before this new permitted development right can be applied and be benefitted from. For example, the maximum convertible SQM is 1,500sqm, ensuring that homes pass space standards and evidence must be provided of how the proposed development will impact flood risk, parking, and contamination.

Prior Approval permitted development rights can offer a simpler option to a full planning application, making it a useful tool for property owners. London Boroughs have historically been very quick at issuing article 4 directions on prior approval rights, with Class O being no exception. This removes the right of landowners to benefit from certain permitted development rights. A recent internal review of article 4 directions for Class O confirmed at least 21 London Councils had fully or partially adopted the removal of this right.

With Class O expiring on the 21st of July 2022 and Class MA taking over from the 1st of August 2022, it was anticipated that several Councils would look to have article 4 directions in place ready for this crucial handover date.

However, with Class MA the uptake of article 4s has been slow. In part, this is the result of Housing Minster Stuart Andrew’s writing to central London Boroughs (Westminster, Camden, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth) refusing to grant and blocking the Council’s requests for new article 4 directions.

Whilst some Councils have still progressed and, for the most part, adopted new Article 4 directions for Class MA, there are still several Councils across the City of London where this is not the case. For example, in comparison to the 21 boroughs that had Class O article 4s in place, the current internal count on adopted or emerging article 4s for Class MA is 11.

With the 1st August 2022 start date looming, now is a good time to assess whether your vacant commercial property may benefit from Class MA prior approval rights. It is also important to note that this permitted development right is available nationally (subject to article 4s and relevant conditions). Therefore, if you are considering your options and would like an initial conversation about the opportunities that may be available, please get in touch with us.


Chris Moore has over 8 years of experience working on various scaled projects across the City of London and Southeast England. Please contact him on 01242 89005 or email to start a conversation.