Overview of Planning

Our planning team monitors applications for planning permission in Abingdon. We focus mainly on proposals affecting Listed Buildings or Conservation Areas but also on any which have an impact on the town as a whole, particularly any major new developments.

If we have any concerns about a proposal we submit them to the Vale of White Horse District Council via their normal consultation process. If necessary we attend and make statements at Planning Committee meetings or Appeal hearings.

Meetings of the Planning Committee were held online during the Covid lockdowns.  They have now returned to face to face meetings but they can be viewed online either live or afterwards: find the meeting page on the Vale website, open the Agenda and click on the link. Members of the public wishing to address a meeting can do so via videolink.

Information about recent cases we have taken up can be found here on the Local Applications page.

Conversion of commercial properties to residential use

Clearly some degree of using “brownfield sites” for housing is desirable. However empty shops and offices are often unsuitable for conversion into residential accommodation. There is therefore widespread concern about a change in planning law which took effect on 1 August 2021 introducing a new permitted development right (PDR) which allows the change of use from any use, or mix of uses, within Class E (commercial, business and service uses) to Class C3 (residential use) without the need for a planning application. All that is required is ‘Prior Approval’.

This applies across the board including in Conservation Areas (although listed buildings are excluded and work on those will still require planning permission). This is a matter of great concern as it will no longer be possible for civic societies or individuals to have any input into consideration of conversions of this type and there will be virtually no regulation of standards of light, amenity space etc.  Therefore Civic Voice, the umbrella organization for civic societies, is monitoring the effects of this change on planning law by collecting information on Prior Approvals from civic societies across the country. We have signed up to this and are regularly checking the Vale Planning website for examples. So far, there have been none in Abingdon, but it is early days.