Friday 25 January 2013

Planning Changes - Office to Residential and Other Permitted Development Rights

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 today (24 January 2013).

The changes will make the best use of developed sites by allowing existing buildings to be quickly brought back into productive use. New permitted development rights will allow office space to be converted into new homes without the need for planning permission from the local authority.

This new change of use right will provide badly needed homes for local people and will make a valuable contribution to easing the national housing shortage. It will help create jobs in the construction industry and help regenerate our town centres by increasing footfall in high streets.

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.

Further reforms will also help boost rural communities and create jobs by allowing agricultural buildings to be converted for other business uses without the need for planning permission.

What will these permitted development rights allow?

They will permit change of use from B1(a) offices to C3 residential

This is subject to a prior approval process covering:
• significant transport and highway impacts 
• development in safety hazard zones, areas of high flood risk and land contamination

The permitted development rights will only cover change of use: any associated physical development which currently requires a planning application will continue to need one. 

A proposed change from commercial to residential use that does not benefit from the new permitted development rights (e.g. where it cannot satisfy the prior approval requirements) will continue to require a planning application, which should be determined in the light of paragraph 51 of the National Planning Policy Framework. 

When will these new rights come into force?

They will come into force in Spring 2013 and run for a period of three years from the date 
of coming into force. The operation of the rights will be considered towards the end of that period, and the rights may potentially be extended for a further period or indefinitely.

The guidance for Chief Planning Officers is here:


  1. Planning permission transforms the value of land and gives you the ability to create development opportunities. It is granted for the benefit of the building or land .

    Melbourne city planning

  2. I was very impressed by this post, this site has always been pleasant news Thank you very much for such an interesting post, and I meet them more often then I visited this site. Locksmiths Melbourne