New planning measures make change of use easier

New permitted development rights will allow office space to be converted into homes without the need for planning permission.

The new planning measures will ensure empty and underused offices can be swiftly converted into much-needed housing to make the most use out of previously developed land, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced recently.

Planning Minister Nick Boles said: “These new changes ensure the very best use is made of our existing buildings to provide new homes and makes sure we get the most use we can out of our previously developed land. We are determined to make sure perfectly good underused properties are converted for homes and uses that will benefit our communities.”

The permitted development right will be in place for 3 years, and because local circumstances vary, local authorities will have an opportunity to seek an exemption if they can demonstrate there would be substantial adverse economic consequences.

The new permitted development rights allow change of use from B1(a) office to C3 residential. Town centre buildings will also be able to easily convert to help new shops, business start-ups and community projects keen to set up in high streets.

The new rules will allow a range of buildings (shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), restaurants and cafes (A3) and offices (B1)) to temporarily convert for up to 2 years and will speed up the process of bringing vacant high street buildings back into use.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “These changes are an important step in improving the planning system and making sure it is in the best possible shape to swiftly adapt to changes and opportunities that can provide a big boost to the economy."

If you have a vacant property and are considering converting it to a more productive and desired use, we can advise, so get in touch. This article has been paraphrased from the announcement on UK Government's website which can be read in full by clicking here.

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