Permitted Development Rights, particularly in respect of the ability to convert offices into residential space, have been important in allowing under utilised buildings to be reborn into residential use. The Regulations permitting such development have been extended a number of times and now, post (current) Covid-19, the Government has indicated that new Regulations are going to be introduced which will give greater freedom for under utilised buildings and land.

The first set of changes which are due to come in on 1st August allow for upward extensions on existing detached blocks of flats that were purpose built between the years of 1948 and 2018. To qualify, the flats must be:

  • Detached
  • Purpose built between 1948 and 2018
  • 3-storeys or more above ground level

The regulations permit up to two additional storeys subject to a number of restrictions as to the overall height of the building and subject to prior approval of the Local Planning Authority. It is not immediately clear how Local Authorities will approach the approval process, but, on the face of it, the approval would appear to be requiring only a consideration of technical matters. Clearly, an important change.

In addition to this, it is also anticipated that new regulations coming into effect in September, will allow for a greater freedom for commercial premises both converting from retail to food and for commercial buildings to move to residential including the ability for additional floors. Again, as the Regulations get published, we will provide further updates, but clearly an important post Covid-19 development.

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