8 April 2014
Permitted development rights: relaxation of rules in favour of residential conversions
The latest round of amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order) 1995 in England, came into force on 6th April 2014 bringing with it further relaxation of planning rules in favour of residential conversions.
The new amendment introduces 4 new classes of permitted development which allows the change of use of existing retail/office and agricultural buildings into dwellings. There is also provision for agricultural buildings to be converted into state funded schools or registered nurseries thus allowing more sensitive commercial activities in rural areas. The new classes are outlined below:
Class CA - Change of use from Class A1 (shops) to a deposit-taker falling within Class A2 (financial and professional services) e.g. bank, building society, credit union.
Class IA - Change of use from Class A1 or A2 to a dwellinghouse, or a mixed use as a dwellinghouse with either Class A1 or Class A2, and building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building into a dwelling house.
Class MA - Change of use from an agricultural building to a state-funded school or registered nursery.
Class MB - Change of use from agricultural building to a dwelling house and building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building into a dwelling house.
The most significant change brought about by the GPDO amendment is the opportunity to change the use of existing retail and agricultural buildings into dwellings. There is now significant opportunity to make use of otherwise redundant or under-used retail and agricultural buildings, particularly those located in rural areas where traditionally new residential development was likely to be resisted by local planning authorities.
As expected, there are a number of conditions that would need to be met including prior approval notice to the local planning authority which considers transport and highways impacts, noise impacts, land contamination and flood risk. Other key criteria to meet in respect of Class IA and MB include:
Whilst these changes favour residential conversions that would ordinarily be resisted by most local planning authorities, the burden is on the applicant to demonstrate that any technical issues arising such as flood risk would be acceptable.
The government has also sought to ensure that permitted development rights under Classes A to E, Part 1 of the GPDO (such as extensions, loft conversions, outbuildings etc.) are restricted for those buildings converted to a dwelling under Classes IA or MB. Therefore any extensions or alterations to a dwelling post-conversion would need to be secured through planning permission.