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You may have read about proposed changes to permitted development rights (pdr) which were the subject of a recent consultation and part of the government’s Spring Statement. We are sending this note to explain what is expected to be allowed.

The upwards extension of certain existing buildings to provide additional homes, and probably extra residential space, subject to design and amenity restrictions.

• The change of use to B1 offices of A1 shops, A2 financial and professional services, pay day loan shops, betting shops, launderettes and A5 hot food takeaways (which may also be able to change to residential use).

• Extension of temporary changes of use between various high street uses, including those noted above and a wider range of community facility uses, to support flexibility and vacancies in the high street (some of these changes already exist but all will now be for three years).

• Making the pdr for larger rear house extensions, due to expire on 30th May 2019, permanent but subject to “a proportionate fee”.

• Amending existing pdr to install electric vehicle charging points to permit taller charging stands, probably up to 2.3 metres.

NB Changes of use between a fairly wide range of different classes are already allowed but these are to be extended.

Please note that the simple things are expected in the next few weeks, but the more complex/controversial things (such as upwards extensions) won’t be enacted until “the Autumn” and others, like replacement of commercial buildings by homes, are still being considered: while pdr for telephone kiosks and conversion of storage spaces to residential use will shortly be withdrawn. Also there will be a review into the quality of residential units being produced by pdr, which may eventually result wider restrictions for the creation of new homes.

Finally it is important to note that these new rights will of course have to comply with Building Regulations; and most will be subject to (often complex) prior notification procedures and approvals, making the original concept of true “permitted development” that does not require a formal planning application somewhat meaningless.

This link to an article from Planning magazine sets out the proposals and reaction to them more fully and can be accessed by subscribing or taking out a free trial:


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