Government to remove restrictions on converting commercial buildings into much needed housing.

by emmadigirank on March 1, 2013

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The government announced that they may lift some restrictions on converting commercial properties into residential housing to help boost residential construction.

The plans for new permitted development rights will allow commercial properties to be converted into homes without needing planning permission.

The main aim of these new plans is to expand permitted development rights for unused commercial spaces.

Why is conversion so important to residential use?

The change will provide homes for local people and will help ease the national housing shortage. The construction will create many jobs as well as regenerating town centres by increasing footfalls in high- streets. The plan aims to make redundant spaces into buildings with profitable use. However, for this aim to work, property development will need to improve.

The permitted development right is predicted to be in place for 3 years. However, local authorities starting with the City of London will have the opportunity to seek an exemption if they believe the development to have adverse economic consequences.

What else may change due to the new permitted development rights?

Further rules may see unused agricultural buildings being transferred into new growth-boosting ventures that would benefit rural areas. Allowing agricultural buildings to be converted into shops, cafes, restaurants and leisure facilities will help boost rural communities and create much needed jobs.

Under new permitted development rights, vacant buildings in town centres may easily be able to convert, providing more profitable buildings. A range of buildings may be able to temporarily convert for up to 2 years, reviving the somewhat derelict high-street.

What won’t change?

Local authorities can still override the permitted development rights if they deem the planning application inappropriate or if the proposal will have substantial economic consequences.

Extensive developments will still need to adhere to existing planning laws, should the planning proposal insist on changing the size, appearance or shape of the existing building.

At present, the new permitted development rights are only confined to commercial properties, even though there is speculation that retail properties and agricultural buildings will be included in the new rules.

What do the experts say?

The new permitted development rights are seen as a benefit to communities, providing much needed housing, jobs and profitable buildings.

Planning Minister Nick Boles said:

“These new changes ensure the very best use is made of our existing buildings to provide new homes and makes sure we get the most use we can out of our previously developed land.”

More needs to be done to ensure towns and cities are moving forward. The plans will help boost the economy, according to Boles. He said: “These changes are an important step in improving the planning system and making sure it is in the best possible shape to swiftly adapt to changes and opportunities that can provide a big boost to the economy.”

If you are unsure as to whether you need planning permission or a certificate of lawful development  contact approachable planning law solicitors at Kingsley Smith Solicitors.

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