Another look at Amendments to
‘Permitted Development Rights’

Last year, the Government decided to review certain ‘Permitted Development Rights’ in England, outlining how planning permission was not required for select conversions and ‘changes of use.’ After much deliberation, it was decided this policy would be extended and made permanent as of April 2016. The policy was introduced under the influence of the government’s desire to “stimulate development rapidly” and focus on better uses for offices which had outlived their purpose. The House of Lords commented “the consequences have been perverse in some parts of the country, particularly in London…think Mary Portas in reverse.”

Office to Residential

The pre-existing development temporary permit allowing ‘change of use’ from an Office to Residential Properties (set to expire in May 2016) subject to a three year constraint, were made permanent. Allowing developers to only be bound by ‘prior approval’ rather than the ‘Full Planning Application’ process for conversion projects in this sector.

However ‘Prior Approval’ is still at present limited to transport and highways, air and noise impacts, flooding and contamination risks implicated by any ‘change of use’. This is also subject to a completion date of three years from the “prior approval” date.

These rights apply to most of the Country apart from some key areas and local authorities such as parts of Central London, Ashford and Manchester. They will apply to all local authorities as of May 2019. Still allowing time for withdrawal of applications via Article 4 legislation.

Light Industrial to Residential

Another new permitted development right was the ‘change of use’ of a light industrial building (B1c)  which cannot exceed 500 sq m or land with a curtilage grade to residential (C3).

These rights will again be for a temporary period of three years which comes into affect as of October this year. With local authorities being given the chance to again withdraw by using Article 4 direction.

‘Change of use’ although permanent, will be subject to ‘prior approval’ from the local authority with the same considerations mentioned prior. and in addition sustainability of all industrial services. The application from light industrial to residential restricts to the ‘change of use’ only and not to external alterations. Now into Spring, we may see an increase in interest from developers and/or landowners wanting to initiate this right to increase their property’s potential and value.

All application raised for Light Industrial to Residential will be subject to an additional condition from the local authority to consider whether a residential development will jeopardise the area’s already industrial functionality.

Launderette to Residential

This grants permission for a ‘change of use’ from a launderette (sui generis) to a residential conversion. ‘Prior approval’ is yet again needed with conditional terms of the local planning authority reviewing the impact on the local area, whether it be positive or negative.

What does this mean for 2017

Now that the ‘Permitted Development Rights’ changes have been in affect for almost a year now, Office to Residential applications have seen an increase in interest from local developer firms and property investors, maybe due to the ‘change of use’ being made permanent. Time will tell if Light Industrial to Residential ‘change of use’ will surge due to its outlining conditions by the local authority. This however may be sought close to home in the Tunbridge Wells or East Sussex area with many light industrial properties still be spotted throughout the countryside. Although previously announced in April 2015, we have yet to hear whether DCLG’s Brandon Lewis’s development right to “allow demolition of office buildings and new building for residential use” will still come into affect in the near-to-distant future.

Any advice on the amended “Permitted Development Rights” can be provided by one of our team here at DMP! Are you interested in using one of these ‘change of use’ for a future development or project?

DMP have achieved multiple prior-notification applications with various local councils and in turn then Project Managed the conversion works to successful completion.

We can provide, present and address any proposals or issues needed to allow you every change of success!

Call us on 01892 534455 or email



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