Posted by Caroline Preist, Partner
Government announces extension to permitted development rights (office to residential)
The government has announced a significant new bundle of measures to address the housing crisis and shortage of supply throughout the country.
Brandon Lewis, Planning Minister, announced that the existing permitted development rights, which allow office space to be converted to residential dwellings, will be extended permanently.
Many property developers thought that the existing measures (which were announced originally as temporary) were set to expire on 30 May 2016. Mr Lewis also announced that the extended permitted development measures will soon enable office buildings to be converted to new residential uses. This will be by way of demolition, together with change of use for light industrial buildings. As an additional bonus, those who already have permission will benefit from three further years to complete their conversion, which will eliminate any fears that may have existed over the previous May 2016 cut off.
The new measures have been justified in that it unlocks underutilised existing buildings and also offers protection to the green belt. Another significant benefit of the scheme is that conversions don’t require the red tape of a full planning permission.
Mr Lewis said, “We’re determined that, both in Whitehall and in town halls, everything is done to get the new homes we need built”.
As with the previous scheme, proposed developments will still require approval by local planning authorities. Measures will continue to allow local authorities who opted out of the initial permitted development scheme to continue to do so.
The government published its Housing and Planning Bill on 13 October 2015 which can be accessed here.
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