Temporary to Permanent - Office to Residential Permitted Development Rights
  • 23rd Mar 2016

Following on from the announcement in the autumn of 2015 and just as the temporary rights are due to expire, the permanent extension of Permitted Development Rights from office to residential conversions has been announced.

The temporary rights were met with a mixed reception and a number of local authorities, including Sevenoaks and Ashford successfully obtained an exemption for part of their area.

These exemptions will cease to exist in May 2019 and the relevant local authorities will have to make an Article 4 direction to obtain continued protection for those areas.

What has changed is that local authorities will have to consider whether mitigation is necessary to protect the new residential units from noise from surrounding commercial enterprises.

In particular noisy music venues have been mentioned as possibly being in need of protection from unreasonable restrictions on their operations.

Developers will, therefore, now need to consider whether the neighbouring uses could become an issue when seeking to use the permanent Permitted Development Rights.

What is missing from the new rules is any reference to allow knocking down existing structures and rebuilding.

It will be interesting to see whether other local authorities now make Article 4 directions to protect, what they see as, their key employment areas.

It may be that where Permitted Development has taken place under the temporary rules there has been a tipping of the balance between the residential and commercial mix of that particular area which might make it easier for a local authority to secure an Article 4 direction where they might have been unsuccessful in relation to procuring an exemption under the previous regime.

What has been made clear under the new rules is that they will be subject to a periodical review in order to try and monitor the effect of the new rights.

As ever with evolving planning policy it is a question of watch this space. Please do contact Vicky Stoodley should you require any further information or to discuss any planning issues you may have.