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Fire Safety and High-Rise Buildings

Planning Gateway One – Fire safety & high-rise buildings (New Validation requirement from 01 August 2021)

Following the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 the government commissioned the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt. 

The report highlighted the need to transform the fire and building safety regime and recommended that "some minimum requirements around fire safety will need to be addressed when local planning authorities are determining planning applications and will require input from those with the relevant expertise."

The Government made a commitment in 'A reformed building safety regulatory system: government response to the 'Building a Safer Future' consultation' to introduce Planning Gateway One. Planning Gateway One has two key elements:

  • to require the developer to submit a fire statement, see, setting out fire safety considerations specific to the development with a relevant application for planning permission for development which involves one or more relevant buildings, and 
  • to establish the Health and Safety Executive as a statutory consultee for relevant planning applications.

Why is it being introduced?

The changes will be introduced via secondary legislation, and will help ensure that applicants and decision-makers consider planning issues relevant to fire safety, bringing forward thinking on fire safety matters as they relate to land use planning where development proposals involve a relevant building (e.g. site layout, water supplies for firefighting purposes and access for fire appliances) to the earliest possible stage in the development process and result in better schemes which fully integrate thinking on fire safety.

What is Planning Gateway One?

The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure and Section 62A Applications) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021/746 amends existing provisions to modify certain procedural requirements in relation to the grant of planning permission involving relevant high rise residential buildings.

Gateway one is being introduced to ensure that fire safety measures are included at an early stage. 

With effect from 1 August 2021, when submitting an application for planning permission for a relevant high-rise residential building, a developer will need to submit a fire statement setting out fire considerations specific to the development.
The fire statement will need to be on a form published by the Secretary of State (or on a form substantially to the same effect) and include the particulars specified or referred to in the form.

The changes to the planning rules also establish the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as a mandatory consultee on all relevant planning applications made on or after 1st August 2021.

What development is in scope?

Relevant buildings are those that contain two or more dwellings, or educational accommodation and meet the height condition of either 18m-plus, or seven-plus storeys - whichever is reached first.
Relevant planning applications are those that provide for one or more relevant buildings, development of an existing relevant building, or development within the curtilage of a relevant building.

Will Planning Gateway One apply to pending planning applications?

Planning Gateway One will only apply to applications for planning permission made on or after 1 August 2021.