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Changes to permitted development rights

A permitted development right means that planning permission is not necessary to undertake property development in certain situations to a change of use. In 2013 a temporary change was made to enable development from office to residential use class without planning permission, but this was limited to the period up to 2016. The Government has therefore been forced to clarify the situation from here on. Brandon Lewis, Housing and Planning Minister, has announced that new regulations will come into effect on 6 April 2016. These will amend the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

The permitted development right changes announced in 2013 were subject to the Prior Notification of local planning authorities, and certain areas within the country were granted exemptions from the change in the law. One example was a large part of Westminster City.

The Government has announced that it will now be possible to change from office use to residential use permanently using permitted development rights. There are certain qualifications:-

i) Those who have already permitted development rights granted will have three years in which to complete the change of use:

ii) Those parts of the country, which, like large parts of Westminster, have exemptions, can retain those until May 2019.

iii) Prior notification will still be necessary.

iv) Councils considering such applications will have the right to consider the noise impact of the proposals. This is an unusual provision to be found within a permitted development regime and is likely to cause uncertainty.

v) New applications will need to contain a statement specifying the net increase in the number of dwellings.

vi) Those applying for permitted development rights for residential will need to prove that the previous use was as an office as on 29 May 2013.

Certain additional changes will be made, such as a new permitted development right to enable the change of use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to residential use. This however will only be temporary and will not come into force until 1 October 2017.

It had been stated that the intention was to allow the demolition of buildings and their replacement. It is understood however that such a provision has not to be incorporated into the regulations.

We will provide a further update after the new regulations are enacted.

For further information please contact:

Trevor Standen
Barrister, Head of Planning
T. 020 7227 7242


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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