The Government has confirmed that the permitted development rights, which allow the conversion of offices to residential, will be made permanent from 6th April 2016. The rights were introduced on a temporary basis in May 2013 and were already expected to be extended after a statement by the Prime Minister last October announcing these changes.
Certain areas, including parts of London and Manchester are currently exempted from the permitted development rights. However, the regulations will remove the exemptions from these areas from 31st May 2019. Article 4 directions can then be considered for these areas to remove the rights if councils wish.
Other amendments that have been confirmed to the regulations are the permitted development right for laundrettes to change to residential use, subject to a prior approval process allowing councils to assess the impact that the change may have on the adequate provision of such services.
In addition, another new permitted development right has been created which allows the change of use from light industrial to residential use temporarily for 3 years. The right will come into force on 1st October 2017 which will give councils sufficient time to issue an Article 4 Direction restricting such changes of use, if required. The maximum floor space to be created must not exceed 500 sq.m. and prior approval will be required from the Council to assess possible impacts arising from transport, contamination, flood risk and sustainability on services which means that the area should not be classified as ‘important’ for light industrial activities.
If you wish to discuss the opportunities arising from these regulation changes, please do not hesitate to contact us.