In an attempt to address concerns relating to town centres, Secretary of State James Brokenshire has outlined plans to extend permitted development on the high street, and to review conversions to residential use.
In a written ministerial statement, published after the Spring Statement, the reforms (initially announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond) were confirmed by Brokenshire.
The statement confirms that in order to support the high street, several “additional flexibilities” will be introduced for business. In particular, shop use classes will be amended to ensure they “capture current and future retail models”. This includes:
• clarification on the ability of (A) use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area;
• introduction of a new permitted development right to allow shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, pay day loan shop and launderettes to change use to an office (B1); and
• to allow hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3).
According to the statement, the temporary change of use to a building will be extended from two to three years so that more community uses can take advantage of the temporary right.
Brokenshire also confirms in the statement that the permitted development right for upwards extensions on buildings will go ahead, but the existing streetscape must be respected. “We would want any right to deliver new homes to respect the design of the existing streetscape, while ensuring that the amenity of neighbours is considered. We will also make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single storey rear extensions to dwelling houses”
Additionally, the housing secretary intends to review permitted development rights for the conversion of buildings to residential use. “We will continue to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes” he says.
Brokenshire confirmed that an immediate package of permitted development right measures will be implemented in the spring, with the more complex matters, including on upward extensions, covered in a further package of regulations in Autumn.