• Helen Winkler

New PD Rights: Change of Use to Residential

New permitted development (PD) rights coming into force on 1 August 2021 will enable the change of use from the new Class E (Commercial, Business and Service) to residential use (Class C3). The Government hopes this change will help support housing delivery and enable more homes to be create

d in town centres, however, the PD right is not restricted to premises within town centres. Use Class E was introduced last year and broadly covers the revoked Classes A1/2/3, B1, D1(a-b) and ‘indoor sport’ from D2(e), such as shops, restaurants and cafes, financial and professional services, indoor sport, day nurseries, offices and light industry.


There are a number of qualifying conditions and Prior Approval matters which will need to be satisfied. These include, the new PD right is subject to a size limit of 1,500 sqm of floorspace changing use and only applies to buildings that have been in a Class E use for two years, including time in former uses now within that class. The right also only applies to buildings that have been continuously vacant for at least three months.


The PD right is subject to applying to seek Prior Approval from the local planning authority (LPA) on a range of specific planning matters including consideration of:


  • transport impacts, including ensuring safe access;

  • contamination risks;

  • flooding risks;

  • impacts of noise from commercial premises; and

  • provision of adequate natural light to all habitable rooms.


In Conservation Areas the LPA should also consider the impact of the loss of the ground-floor commercial, business and service uses to the character or sustainability of the area. Where the conversion proposed is from a health centre or registered nursery, the LPA will consider the impact on the local provision of the type of services lost.


The new PD right will not apply to protected land listed in article 2(3) of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) which includes National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Listed buildings, and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). It should also be noted that the PD right may be restricted because other constraints apply to the existing use, for example, by virtue of a condition attached to the planning permission and/or by a legal agreement, such as the terms of a lease.


It is worth noting that changes introduced in the GPDO has put a stop to the PD right for conversion from a betting shop or a pay day loan shop to residential use.


Contact Tyler Parkes for more details.

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