Permitted Development – Commercial to Residential

January 31st 2013

The government has unveiled its plans to breath life back into under utilised office buildings by introducing “permitted development rights” which will permit conversion to residential use, subject to a number of conditions.

In a statement released by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the main aim of the plans is to encourage ‘a swift and responsive planning system’ to facilitate growth and deliver sustainable development. The plans will run for a period of 3 years from Spring 2013 and will allow a change of use from B1(a) offices to C3 residential.

It also recognises that there may be exemptions for localities with exceptional circumstances although Pickles explains that these authorities will need to ‘demonstrate clearly that the introduction of these new permitted development rights in a particular local area will lead to (a) the loss of a nationally significant area of economic activity or (b) substantial adverse economic consequences at the local authority level which are not offset by the positive benefits the new rights would bring.”

Parliament will have the opportunity to review the benefits of the plans at the end of the initial 3 year period and extend the policy further should it be deemed to have been a success.

You can access this link to the Department for Communities and Local Government website for further information –