On 13 October 2015 the government made a much awaited announcement concerning the extension of permitted development rights. This announcement was made on the same day as the Housing and Planning Bill was introduced in an attempt by the government to fulfil its election commitments to providing much needed housing.
First introduced in 2013, temporary permitted development rights have enabled offices to be converted to new homes without having to apply for planning permission.
These rights were set to expire on 30 May 2016 but the government has announced they will now be made permanent. In addition, those who already have prior approval to proceed with a conversion pursuant to these rights will have three years in which to complete the change of use – ending potential uncertainty for developers and enabling the development.
To further support the delivery of new homes, the government’s announcement revealed future plans to allow the demolition of office buildings and new building for residential use. It also introduced new permitted development rights to enable the change of use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to new homes. These rights will be subject to limitations and prior approval by the local planning authority.
There are presently 17 local authorities (most of which are London boroughs) which have imposed exemptions from these permitted development rights. These exemptions will remain in place until May 2019, providing time for local authorities to consider making an Article 4 direction to remove the rights and require a planning application for any proposed change of use.
The announcement has not revealed how (if at all) the extension to the permitted development rights will dovetail with other recent government initiatives such as those designed to encourage the provision of starter homes. There is also no comment as to if the exercise of these rights will involve changes to the rules on making a contribution to local infrastructure, affordable housing or CIL. Conversions under the existing regime are untroubled by the need to enter into planning obligations and many can avoid CIL where they can show the required level of recent lawful use to enable that old space to be deducted when calculating CIL from the newly converted residential space.
The government has yet to publish any detailed guidance or statutory provisions which will follow in due course.
For more information about the extensions to Permitted Development Rights or to find out more about how the development land and housebuilding team can help you please email William Nassau-Lake on [email protected] or Derek Ching on [email protected] or 0118 952 7246.
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