From 6th April 2014 new permitted development rights will come into force using a Prior Approval process. For full details please refer to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(Amendment and Consequential Provisions)(England) Order 2014.

In summary the new rights comprise;

  • Class IA will allow class A1 retail and class A2 financial or professional services space to be switched to class C3 residential use.

Class IA is subject to an upper limit of 150 square metres of floorspace and does not apply to listed buildings.

Under class IA, these changes of use will need prior approval where planning authorities wish to assess traffic and highways impacts, contamination or flood risk. Prior approval can also examine whether the change of use is undesirable due to its impact on provision of the services involved, as long as there is a “reasonable” prospect of the building being used to provide those services, or on the sustainability of key shopping areas, so not exactly a permitted development right, more like a planning application.

  • New class CA allows retail space to be used by financial organisations authorised to take deposits, including banks, building or friendly societies and credit unions.
  • A new class MA will allow agricultural buildings of up to 500 square metres to be converted to state-funded schools or registered nurseries,
    • The existing class K of the GPDO will be extended to allow a variety of other premises to be converted to nurseries.
    • New class MB allows existing buildings of up to 450 square metres used for agricultural purposes to be converted to up to three separate dwellings. But ministers have decided that “at this time”, the new residential use rights will not apply in national parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, conservation areas or world heritage sites.

….and what to watch out for in the future….

In the Budget 2014 the Government also said that it will consult on new permitted development rights for change of use to residential use and to allow businesses to expand certain onsite facilities:

…the government will consult on specific change of use measures, including greater flexibilities for change to residential use, for example from warehouses and light industry structures, and allowing businesses greater flexibilities to expand facilities such as car parks and loading bays within existing boundaries, where there is little impact on local communities.

The Budget 2014 also set out that the Government would consider creating a “much wider ‘retail’ use class, excluding betting shops and payday loan shops”