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Office to residential permitted development rights made permanent

The government have announced this week that office to residential permitted development rights are to be made permanent.
The rights which were due to expire in May 2016 remove the need to apply for planning permission to change the use of a building from office to residential and instead replace it with a much simpler ‘prior approval’ process.
A few key changes to the rights have however been announced:

  • All existing exemptions will be removed and there are no proposals for any replacement exemptions.
  • Exemptions will not be removed until May 2019 to allow local authorities to make Article 4 directions. An Article 4 direction removes permitted development rights in a specific geographical area in turn reintroducing the requirement for an application of planning for a conversion to a residential development. These directions take time and resource to be put into place and must have a strong justification.
  • The introduction of a 3 year period in which to complete the change of use. Conversions which have already been given prior approval will also have to complete the change within a 3 year period.
  • Rights will in future allow the demolition of office buildings and new builds for residential use

No changes to the existing prior approval criteria have been proposed.
Brandon Lewis, Housing and Planning Minister has also announced that new permitted development rights will be introduced to enable the change of use of light industrial building and launderettes to new homes.
If you require further information or advice please contact our Housing Team.