Office to residential permitted development rights to be made permanent

The government has confirmed that permitted development rights to convert offices into homes are to be made permanent as from 6 April 2016.

In amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015, that were laid before parliament last week, the government confirmed that the temporary permitted development rights, introduced in May 2013, will be made permanent.

The amended Order will come into effect as from Wednesday, 6 April 2016.

The new General Permitted Development Order includes a condition allowing local planning authorities to consider “impacts of noise from commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the development”.

The change also specifies that proposed changes will have to be completed within three years of prior approval.

The regulations include a permitted development right for launderettes to be turned into housing, subject to an approval process which gives councils the rights to decide whether the changes will impact on the "adequate provision" of such services in the area.

In addition, a new three-year temporary permitted development right to convert light industrial use premises (up to 500 square metres) to housing will also be created.

Prior approval will be required in order to assess transport impacts, contamination and flood risk, as well as the impact on the provision of industrial, storage or distribution services where the change is in an area seen as "important" for these activities.

This new right will come into force on 1 October 2017, to allow councils the time to issue an article 4 direction removing the right where appropriate.

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