Office-to-residential permitted development right to be made permanent
On 12th October 2015, the Prime Minister announced that the office-to-residential permitted development right will become permanent from May 2016.
The government will introduce a permanent permitted development right for change of use from class B1(a) (offices) to class C3 (dwelling houses). This will replace the existing temporary right, which applies from 30th May 2013 to 30th May 2016.
The new office-to-residential permitted development right has been announced ahead of the publication of the Housing and Planning Bill, as a means of supporting the government's drive to deliver one million homes by 2020.
While the right may only contribute a fraction of that target, it will provide welcome certainty for those developers looking to convert offices into homes.
Those who already have prior approval or secure permission will have three years to complete the change of use.
From May 2016, the rights will allow the demolition of office buildings and new building for residential use. It will also enable the change of use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to residential use.
All will be subject to limitations and the LPA's prior approval, and the government plan to provide further details.
Exemptions to the right
It's worth knowing that the City of London and commercial areas exemption will continue until May 2019.
There are 17 local authorities in England that are currently exempt from the rights, including:
- The City of London
- The London Central Activities Zone, which covers parts of the boroughs of Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Westminster, Newham, and Kensington and Chelsea
- Areas in the borough councils of Stevenage, and Ashford (Kent)
- Areas in the district councils of Sevenoaks and East Hampshire
- Manchester City Centre
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