Changes to the Planning Bill may mean reprieve for the 4-year rule.

With the introduction of a new Government, a new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and a new direction in Government policy, rumours abound that Johnson’s upcoming Planning Bill – which would see the 4-year rule* cancelled – will be scrapped in favour of a new Bill.

Planning Bills up in the air

With Truss’s Government planning to build more homes, increase local powers, reduce ecological protections and (potentially) reduce the power of the Planning Inspectorate, huge changes to this country’s planning system appear to be on the cards.

These changes may happen sooner rather than later as, on Friday 23rd September 2022, another new Planning Bill – the Planning and Infrastructure Bill – was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

Whether Truss’s new Bill spells the death of Johnson’s widely unpopular Bill has yet to be confirmed. It’s almost certain, however, that at least some amendments to Johnson’s Bill would be made. We’re keeping a keen eye on government announcements here at Planning Direct and will report back when we know more. 

Follow the progress of Johnson’s Planning Bill with us here:

Reprieve for 4-year rule

No matter the outcome, it’s likely we’ll be waiting a while longer for the adoption of any new Planning Bill (or Bills!) than we originally thought.

That’s great news for anyone still hoping to make use of the 4-year rule. It’s even better news if your development has not quite been in place for 4 years yet.

Does this mean reprieve for the 4-year rule?

Whether any future Planning Bill will also look to scrap the 4-year rule remains unclear at this stage. We think it’s sensible to err on the side of caution and prepare for its cancellation from 2024 onwards. 

*Totally confused? In short, the 4-year rule allows you to legitimise certain unlawful developments (e.g. the change of use of a commercial building to a home or the subdivision of a house to multiple flats or HMOs) that have been in place – without planning permission – for at least 4 years. Other developments have to be in place for at least 10 years before they can become lawful due to the passage of time. Johnson’s Bill would remove the 4-year rule, meaning all development would become subject to the 10-year rule. 

Find out more about the 4 and 10 year rules using the button below.

Do you need to regularise an unlawful development that’s been in place for 4 or 10 years? Contact us today to find out whether you could take advantage of the 4 or 10-year rule. Our initial advice is always free of charge.

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