On 11th March 2016, Brandon Lewis (Minister of State for Planning and Housing) presented before Parliament the Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016.
The Amendment introduces two key changes regarding change of use of buildings to residential use.
Change of use from Office to Residential
The Amendment makes permanent the current temporary right to change a building used as offices (Use Class B1(a)) into residential (C3) use. This change will come into force as of 6th April 2016.
The Amendment introduces a new condition, requiring local planning authorities to consider ‘impacts of noise from commercial premises on the intended occupiers of the development’ when determining prior approval applications. The Order also states that proposed changes must be completed within three years of prior approval.
Current exemptions on the office to residential permitted development right (including areas of central London and Manchester city centre) will be removed on 31st May 2019. As a result, local planning authorities in exemption areas will need to implement Article 4 Directions should they wish these exemptions to remain.
Change of use from Light Industrial to Residential
The Amendment introduces a new temporary three-year permitted development right for the change of use from light industrial (Use Class B1(c)) to residential (C3) use, for a maximum floor space of up to 500 square metres. The right will come into force as of 1st October 2017.
Local planning authorities will be required to assess the impact of proposed changes on transport, contamination, flood risk and sustainability when determining prior approval applications.
Areas regarded as important for industrial, storage or distribution services can be exempted from the permitted development right by local planning authorities through Article 4 Directions.
Elsewhere in the Amendment, a permitted development right for the change of use from launderette to residential use is also introduced.
Local planning authorities will be required to assess the impact of proposed changes on ‘adequate provision’ of launderette services when determining prior approval applications.