Permitted Development: Acoustic Implications

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The pandemic has brought into prominence plans to convert various buildings into residential use. An attractive planning vehicle for such conversion is the permitted development rights route without seeking planning permission. Instead, applicants are required only to make a ‘prior approval’ application. Our Teli Chinelis briefly discusses the acoustic implications of this route.

Under the Prior Approval scheme, a noise impact assessment is required to support the proposals if there are nearby existing commercial uses that can give rise to an adverse noise impact at the proposed new residential use. For instance, if you are proposing to change the use of an office building into residential, and a nightclub is operating next door, then you will need to assess the noise impact from this business to your proposed noise sensitive use.

However, under this scheme, a review of the environmental noise impacts, i.e. road traffic noise is excluded as a requirement. But, where noise is not strictly a material consideration under the General Permitted Development Order, it may still impact on the ongoing suitability of the housing as required by the Housing Act 2004. Noise is a specified hazard under the ‘housing health and safety rating system’ (HHSRS) used under the Act.

The fact dwellings were created by permitted development does not affect legal obligations. Dwellings which do not provide a suitable acoustic environment may be subject to enforcement action which could potentially result in expensive remedial costs and\or prohibition of use.

For any more information about Permitted Development: Acoustics Implications, please contact [email protected].

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