In an attempt to increase the number of houses and revive the high street, the MHCLG released a consultation entitled Housing Delivery and Public Service Infrastructure on 3rd December 2020.
This consultation seeks views on a proposed new permitted development right for the change of use from Commercial, Business and Service use to residential to create new homes, measures to support public service infrastructure through the planning system, and the approach to simplifying and consolidating existing permitted development rights following changes to the Use Classes Order.
The same consultation also proposes new permitted development rights and fast-tracked planning applications for schools, colleges and universities, hospitals and prisons.
The proposed changes are significant, particularly as many buildings that do not currently benefit from existing PD rights to change to residential would benefit from the proposed changes. An extract from the consultation confirms (our emphasis);
‘Having first simplified the change of use in such cases, we want now to build on this providing further flexibility to allow this broader range of uses to change to residential use. This will support housing delivery and attract the additional footfall that new residents will bring. Current permitted development rights already provide for shops, financial and professional services, and offices to change to residential use, and these will continue to apply until 31 July 2021. We propose to draw these together into a single right that provides for the change of use from any use within the Commercial, Business and Service use class to residential (C3). This single right would provide clarity and greater planning certainty and support the delivery of a significant number of additional homes, developing brownfield sites and making effective use of existing commercial buildings and help to prevent them being left empty. All homes would be required to meet the nationally described space standards. This will come into effect from 1 August 2021’
It is proposed that the new right would allow for the change of use from any use, or mix of uses, within the new Class E to residential use. The right would replace the current rights for the change of use from office to residential and from retail etc to residential which remain in force until 31 July 2021. It will go significantly beyond existing rights, allowing for restaurants, indoor sports, and creches etc to benefit from the change use to residential under permitted development rights for the first time. The protections in respect of pubs, including those with an expanded food offer, theatres, and live music venues, all of which are outside of this use class, continue to apply and a full planning application is always required for the change of use to or from such uses.
For a copy of the consultation, please click on the link below;