Permitted development rights — office to residential conversion

The Government is introducing a new permitted development right to allow offices to be converted into flats without the need for planning permission. The measure is part of the Government’s Plan for Growth, announced in the 2011 Budget , and is billed as a means of delivering ‘badly needed homes’, helping to ‘create jobs in the construction industry’, and helping to ‘regenerate our town centres’.

It will require an amendment to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (GPDO) to be made by Statutory Instrument later this year.
The key features of the right, which were announced on 24 January 2013, are that:

  • it will allow conversions of offices within use class B1(a) to residential dwellings in use class C3
  • it will be in place for a temporary period of three years
  • approval will be required in relation to transport, highways, flooding and land contamination
  • associated external physical development will still require planning permission
  • certain areas will be exempt, but only where the Local Authority can demonstrate that it would have ‘substantial adverse economic consequences’

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