Look around any UK town or city these days and you’re likely to see empty office buildings being converted for residential use. First introduced in 2013, temporary permitted development rights (PDR) enabled offices to be converted to new homes without having to apply for planning permission.
The initiative was set to expire this month, but due to its success – almost 4,000 office to residential conversions were given the go-ahead last year – the government has announced the rights will now be made permanent.
Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said of the decision, “We can now tap into the potential of underused buildings to offer new homes for first-time buyers and families long into the future, breathing new life into neighbourhoods and at the same time protecting our precious green belt.”
The permanent PDR will be subjected to the same conditions as the temporary ones. For example, prior approval will still be required from the relevant council and the applicant will need to prove the building was used as an office when the temporary office to residential PDR were originally established in 2013. Local authorities will also maintain the right to intervene if the proposal presents a contamination or flood risk. Furthermore, a new condition has been added enabling councils to raise concerns about noise impact on the intended occupants from nearby commercial premises.
Some areas, predominantly in Central London and Manchester City Centre, are currently exempt from the office to residential permitted development rights. The local authorities in question have until May 2019 to decide whether they wish to continue determining planning applications for change of use.
To further support the delivery of new homes, the rights may in future allow the demolition of office buildings and new building for residential use, as well as enable the change of use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to new homes. The government has yet to confirm these changes though.
We have over thirty years’ experience working in construction including office to residential conversions. We can:
- Undertake a planning appraisal to determine if your property will benefit from permitted development rights.
- Carry out a feasibility study for proposed redevelopment into residential accommodation.
- Submit planning applications for proposed redevelopment.
- Administer full design, provide competitive contractor selection, CDM and project management services for the construction process.