Until March 2011 it was only necessary to seek prior approval for the demolition of a building that either comprised a dwelling, or was attached to a dwelling, to leave a cleared site. That approval was in addition to any other consent, such as conservation area consent or listed building consent.

Following a decision of the Court of Appeal paragraphs 2(1)(a) to (d) of the Town and Country Planning (Demolition – Description of Buildings) Direction 1995, contained in DoE Circular 10/95 have been quashed.

This means that the demolition of any building prior to the grant of planning permission for redevelopment (and, if necessary, conservation area consent or listed building consent) must now be the subject of an application to the planning service in accordance with the provisions of Part 31 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 to check whether prior approval of the method of demolition would be required.

Demolition works also come within the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.  Where demolition works are likely to have significant effects on the environment the Planning Service must issue a screening opinion on whether an environmental impact assessment is required.

What does this mean for a developer?

If you intend to demolish a building falling within one of these categories as a separate project, you must apply to the planning service for a determination as to whether they will require prior approval for the method of demolition. This will be in addition to any other consent required for demolition (such as for heritage properties).