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New development rights to convert offices into homes

Posted: 12th February 2013   In: Commercial Property

New permitted development rights to allow offices to be converted into homes without the need for planning permission have been introduced.

The move is designed to provide much needed new homes, regenerate town centres and provide a boost for the construction industry.

The permitted development right will be in place for three years. Local authorities will be able to seek an exemption if they can demonstrate there would be substantial adverse economic consequences. However, it’s expected that exemptions would only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

Under the changes, it will also be possible to convert some town centre buildings into new shops, and premises for start-up businesses and community projects for a period of up to two years.

The town centre uses that can convert temporarily for 2 years to other uses include shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), restaurants and cafes (A3) and offices (B1).

The reforms will also allow agricultural buildings to be converted without planning permission to make them suitable for business premises including shops, offices, restaurants and hotels. However, these new permitted development rights do not extend to residential use.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “We want to promote the use of brownfield land to assist regeneration, and get empty and under-used buildings back into productive use.

“Using previously developed land and buildings will help us promote economic growth, provide more homes and still ensure that we safeguard environmentally protected land.”

Please contact Kevin Walsh if you would like more information about planning and development issues.