Things to think about

Could there be additional areas which are exempt from the permitted development rights but are not shown on this map?

Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (as amended), allows Local Authorities to remove most permitted development rights on one or more property within their administrative boundaries. Whilst, Article 4 is most often used as a means to protect historic buildings and areas, some Local Authority are investigating this option as an alternative way to prevent the change of use from office to residential in specific areas. It is necessary to check whether your relevant Local Authority has undertaken this step.

What is the prior notification procedure?

A change of use from office to residential cannot take place until the completion of a prior notification procedure. All developers must apply to the Local Authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to – (1) transport and highways impacts of the development, (2) contamination risks on the site and (3) flooding risks on the site. In other words, it will be necessary to get clearance from the Local Authority that these matters don’t justify the permitted development rights being withheld.

Would planning permission be required for any physical works associate with the change of use from office to residential?

The new permitted development rights only allow for the change of use of the building. Any associated operational development still require Planning Permission in the usual way where the works would “materially alter the external appearance of the building”. The requirement for Listed Building Consent also remains unaltered for internal works to a Listed Building.

What about affordable housing, EIA and other policy requirements?

There is no planning requirement to meet affordable housing or other planning policy requirements when changing from office to residential use. It should be noted, however, that permitted development rights are not completely beyond the scope of EIA legislation for very large scale changes of use (e.g. whole blocks) and the relevant EIA thresholds/ criteria may need to be considered in extreme cases.

Will a change of use from office to residential be CIL liable?

Yes. Permitted development is subject to the Community Infrastructure Levy like any other development. Changes of use to residential are also not exempt from the CIL but an offset is currently allowed for existing floorspace that has been occupied in lawful use for 6 of the last 12 months. These timing implications should be carefully considered.

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