The Government has announced new measures to make it easier for Free Schools to convert empty and underused buildings and move more quickly into their preferred site. 

The new measures mean free schools will be able to to open in almost any building for a year without needing planning permission, removing concerns that schools cannot open in time.

At the moment, parents, teachers and charities who want to open a free school have to go through a lengthy planning application process to get council permission to move into buildings earmarked for use but that are not already schools.

The new permitted development rights will also give free schools extra time to win the permanent planning permission required to remain in their buildings after that first year.

In addition, new free schools will also be able to open permanently in a wider range of buildings – such as offices and hotels – with the introduction of an easier, more streamlined approval process. Local planning authorities will have to carry out only a limited assessment that will consider noise and traffic issues.

And finally, to help you find a property a new estate agency-style website listing surplus government properties has been set up to make it easier for people who want to set up a free school to search for and find sites. It launched today and shows more than 600 properties to rent and more than 140 to buy. The list will be updated as more properties become available or are claimed.

Kirkwells offer groups wanting to open a Free School expert advice at specially reduced fee rates. We can advise on:

  • Site search
  • Feasibility
  • Planning policy
  • Planning Applications
  • Community Engagement
  • Appeals

Download our Development Management Services leaflet.

To get the help of RTPI chartered town planners call:

01282 872570



Read more: Kirkwell's Comment Latest Planning News