Government Announces Permanent Office-to-Residential Permitted Development Rights

But Leading Planning Lawyers Concerned Whether Measures Are Sufficient To Help Solve the Housing Crisis


Karen Roberts, Press Officer | 0207 400 8714

The Government’s recent announcement that it will make permanent the office-to-residential permitted development rights that have been in place since 2013 is welcome news, according to leading planning lawyer at Irwin Mitchell.

These rights were due to expire on 30 May 2016 and although further details about limitations and the on-going prior approval mechanism will be published in due course, there are two important additions in this announcement:

1. Those who already have permission under the current temporary permitted development rights will have three years in which to complete their change of use, thus removing an element of doubt. The point in time when the change of use from office to residential “crystallises” has been widely debated to date.

2. The permanent permitted development rights will allow the demolition of office buildings and their replacement by new build residential, subject to prior approval, details for which are yet to be released.

Those 17 local planning authorities that already have an exemption will only remain in place until May 2019, after which time the relevant authorities will need to have another Article 4 direction in place to remove the permitted development rights. Light industrial and laundrette units will also now be liable for conversion into residential. It is anticipated that prior approval for conversion from the light industrial use class will be subject to the impact of the proposed residential use on neighbouring employment uses.

Martha Grekos, Head of London Planning and Infrastructure at Irwin Mitchell, said: