Updated Jan 28, 2022

House of Lords raise concerns over marquee permitted development rights

The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has raised concerns about legislation laid before Parliament that change building regulations and planning law.

The committee’s November 2021 special report 'Government by Diktat: A Call to Return Power to Parliament' raised concerns about departments providing insufficient explanatory material to allow Parliament to carry out effective scrutiny of secondary legislation. It looked at how secondary legislation could be used to make temporary measures permanent when such changes would have been more appropriately made using primary legislation.

One of the pieces of legislation called into question specifically was the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Order SI 2021/1464, which made a permitted development right (PDR) for marquees and gazebos to be erected and used at pubs, cafés, restaurants or historic visitor attractions without the need for planning permission, permanent. Initially this PDR was created in 2020 as a temporary measure intended to help businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whilst the committee acknowledged that the temporary PDR was important in order to support businesses and the economic recovery, they were concerned that the "temporary measures originally introduced to address these effects are now being made permanent despite the adverse impact they may have on members of the public". Stating that those with concerns about such a development will no longer be able to raise their concerns through the planning process.

There were also concerns raised by the Committee that the outcome of a public consultation on these rights which ran between September and November 2021 has not been published. This despite the point that the results showed that while there was support for making the changes permanent, two-thirds of respondents expressed concerns about noise and the impact such moveable structures might have on the appearance and access to heritage sites.

Making such changes permanent through secondary legislation raises concerns for the committee because they will not be subject to the “robust parliamentary scrutiny and debate that would have been guaranteed had they been implemented using primary legislation”.