As part of the package of measures to support economic growth the Government’s Chief Planner has within the last few weeks alerted Local Planning Authorities in England of the Government’s proposal for the forthcoming permitted development rights for change of use from office (Use Class B1a) to residential (Use Class C3) which will come into force in Spring 2013.
This will mean that offices will be able to be converted to residential use without the need for planning permission. However, before conversion can take place owners/developers will be required to notify the Local Planning Authority of their proposal to enable the authority to ensure that the proposal does not have any significant transport and highway impacts and/or would not take place in safety hazard zones or areas of high flood risk and land contamination. Where those safeguards cannot be satisfied, planning permission will continue to be required.
The permitted development rights will only cover change of use. Any associated physical alterations or additions to the building which currently requires a planning application will continue to need one.
This new permitted development right will come into force in Spring 2013 and run for a period of three years from the date of coming into force. At the end of that period the Government will review the operation of the rights with a view to potentially extending those rights for a further period or indefinitely.
Peter Tanner, Managing Director of town planning and development consultants Tanner & Tilley, on hearing the Government alert commented, “We have a number of clients who will be able to benefit from this relaxation of planning control and make good use of vacant or under occupied offices by converting them to residential accommodation, adding much needed housing to the local housing stock.”
The purpose of the Government’s alert to Local Planning Authorities is to enable them to consider whether there are any specific locations that should be exempted from this change, for example where there would be the loss of a nationally significant area of economic activity or substantial adverse economic consequences at the local authority level which will not be offset by the positive benefits the new rights would bring.
If you would like to discuss how these changes to permitted development rights might benefit you, contact Carlie O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org