The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has laid draft legislation before Parliament which will have the effect of requiring that ‘Fire Statements’ be submitted with planning applications. This relates to the construction or redevelopment of buildings which will then comprise two or more dwellings, or any educational accommodation, and are 18m or more in height, or seven or more storeys, or any development with the curtilage of any such building.
A ‘Fire Statement’ must be in a prescribed form, and draft guidance has been published to assist in completing it. The draft guidance advises that fire safety matters contained in a Fire Statement are relevant only to the extent they are relevant to land use planning. The level of detail and focus of information should not contain the breadth and depth of information on fire safety which will be submitted at building control application stage.
Requirements of the Fire Statement will not duplicate or require compliance with the Building Regulations or Fire Safety Orders, and local planning authorities will not be responsible for any Building Regulation matters or the enforcement of building control requirements.
Fire Statements will support the consideration of information on fire safety issues relevant to land use planning matters, for example, where fire safety issues relate to site layout and access. It is the intention that the information provided within Fire Statement is focused and concise, specific and relevant to the development, and proportionate to the scale, type and complexity of the proposal.
The provisions will also require that the Health and Safety Executive must be consulted on such applications. The current timetable appears to be that these new requirements will take effect from 1st August 2021.
Whilst these new requirements will be welcome by many, those proposing such schemes need to be aware of them and, of course, they may slow down the processing of those applications which are not supported by the requisite information.
Tom Graham is a barrister with 40 years of experience in town & country planning, highway law and public law. He was formerly a solicitor and has had considerable experience in local government and private practice. Tom was the Chief Solicitor to North Hertfordshire District Council and has held senior positions in local government.
Tom has acted for developers, house-builders and landowners as a partner in private practice. He has appeared at many local inquiries and in the civil and criminal courts, the Lands Tribunal and in the High Court. His books include “Contaminated Land” (Jordans 1995) and “A Practical Guide to Planning, Highways and Development” (Bath Publishing 2019).
Click the links below to find out about Tom’s upcoming training courses:
- Introduction to Section 38 Agreements – iq legal training
- Highways: The width of highways and highway boundaries – iq legal training