Will the Permitted Development Rights from offices to residential be extended to May 2019 ?

Permitted Development rights were introduced in May 2013 to allow for the change of use of buildings from B1 (a) (offices) C3 (dwellinghouses) subject to a prior approval process by the local planning authority. As part of these requirements there are a number of criteria to adhere to. Associated external physical works may still require planning permission.

The relaxed Permitted Development rights were to run for an initial three-year period with a May 2016 deadline for projects to be completed.

However, the Government had proposed to extend this to May 2019, meaning conversion projects that already have prior approval may not need to be completed until then. 

A recent report said the conversion of offices to homes since the right was introduced had caused problems in areas with a housing shortage, fuelling the fastest decline in the availability of commercial property since 1998.

The report said central office market areas in urban locations faced “a potential supply crunch and rising rental levels” and that pressure from the Permitted Development rights was also being experienced in edge of town and suburban employment centres. However, the rights were having “a positive effect” in some areas “by removing poor quality office space”

In his March planning statement to Parliament, the Secretary of State for Culture and Local Government has outlined a number of changes to the use of permitted development rights (PDR) within the planning system. Whilst the new rules include allowing the conversion to homes without a planning application of arcades, casinos and some storage and distribution premises, one measure that was notable by its absence was an extension of the contentious office-to-residential PDR scheme.

In Dunstable we have seen a number of empty office units converted to residential accommodation in the last year as a result of the temporary Permitted Development rights and at a time when rental accommodation has been in very short supply this has proved to be a good use of otherwise derelict unloved and unused buildings.

There are still a number of properties in Dunstable with the potential to be converted to residential and at a time when accommodation is desperately needed for a growing workforce due to employers such as Amazon locating her it would be a shame if this was no longer available.

For any more information or advice on property investment in Dunstable please call our shop on 01582 343209 or email Daniel Bourke daniel.bourke@belvoirlettings.com