Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis announced on 13 October 2015 that the temporary permitted development rights which have enabled the conversion of office buildings to residential dwellings without the need for planning permission since May 2013, will now be made permanent.
When first introduced in 2013, this was a temporary measure, due to expire May 2016. The measure was designed to make the development process simpler, encourage the commencement of house building and avoid unnecessary red tape of planning applications.
When making the announcement Brandon Lewis said:
“Today’s measures will mean we can 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.”
This news will be welcomed by developers who were facing uncertainty with the temporary provisions due to end shortly. In addition the Housing and Planning Minister also announced the following changes in planning policy:
• New permitted development rights will enable the change of use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to new homes (subject to prior LPA approval) – hopefully maximising potential building stock available for conversion to homes.
• The right to allow for demolition of office buildings and building of new residential units, again this is likely to be subject to prior LPA approval, however, at this time, little detail is known about these proposals.