Big changes planned for permitted development rights!
The government has issued a consultation into big changes planned for permitted development rights for commercial conversions in the GPDO.
This is planned to affect Class MA from Use Class E to C3, Class M, Class N, Class G, Class H, Class Q and Class R. We may also see new permitted rights to go from C1 Hotels to C3, rural buildings to C3 and rural buildings to a flexible commercial use. If that wasn’t enough Classes A & B for development on agricultural land may change. Part 7 may see changes to commercial extensions and amended rights for industrial buildings etc. Finally changes are planned to alter the temporary use of land.
Read on to see how you might be able to benefit from these proposed changes later in 2023 in a town near you! At the end of this article on the big changes to permitted development rights you will find the link to the questionnaire. Everyone is encouraged to respond to give their feelings towards these proposals.
There are a potential 15 parts of the GPDO that might be affected by the big changes to permitted development as proposed. How can you take advantage of these changes before others realise? As always, here at Planning Geek we are here to help.
Class MA – Use Class E to residential
There are a few changes planned for Class MA . Currently you are limited to 1,500 sq m of floor space. The proposal is to either double this to 3,000 sq m or remove the limit all together. This will allow for larger buildings to be converted. This might include departmental stores for example. However this might be constrained by needing natural light to all habitable rooms. So deeper footplates might not be so good.
There is a proposal to remove the requirement for the property to be empty for 3 months before application.
Currently Class MA applies in a conservation area (subject to an assessment) but not in AONB, National Parks etc. The proposal is to allow conversions in AONB and National Parks, but not in World Heritage Sites. In Conservation areas the assessment could well be dropped. This will widen the scope for Class MA into more areas of England.
Hotels C1 to residential
Currently it is not possible to go from C1 to residential apart from with full planning. The proposal is to allow conversions from hotels in C1 to residential. This has huge potential for some towns. Restrictions might apply in certain towns to protect tourism – this might however require new Article 4s to be created. There will be limits however preventing C4 HMO and holiday lets from being created. How this will affect SA units already operating under C1 will remain to be seen.
We may see this built into Class MA or as a new Change of Use.
Class M – hot food takeaway, betting office, payday loan shop or laundrette to residential
The proposal here is to remove laundrette from Class M. It is likely to come into effect around 4 weeks after this is altered. Therefore a window should still exist for a short term. The current limit of 150 sq m of floorspace might be increased to 300 sq m or be removed all together. The current date stamp of 20th March 2013 may be altered to a 2-year rolling date stamp – as a result many newer properties might be available to convert.
Finally it is proposed to allow Class M to be undertaken in Conservation areas, AONB and National Parks.
Class N – amusement arcades and casinos to residential
Like Class M, Class N has a limit of 150 sq m of floorspace. The proposal is to either double this to 300 sq m or remove it all together. Again this will bring larger buildings into the remit of Class N. It is proposed to allow Class N to be undertaken in Conservation areas, AONB and National Parks once again increasing the pool of buildings. Finally the current date stamp of 19th March 2014 may be altered to a 2-year rolling date stamp – as a result many newer properties might be available to convert.
Class G – up to two flats above Use Class E or betting office or payday loan shop
This is currently still one of the better opportunities to create new dwellings in the high street. The government is considering extending this permitted development right to locations above other commercial properties. Although I suspect that this might be limited considering the wide scope of Use Class E. Still the government has particular types in mind, it is just that they are not sharing them. Hopefully this change will not suggest that certain uses are not within Use Class E such as beauty salons etc.
At the moment you can create up to two flats in Class G. The proposal is to double this to four. Class H, which allows for the change back from residential to commercial, will mirror any changes in Class G.
Class Q – change from an agricultural building (barn) to residential
There are a few proposed changes to Class Q. Currently you can create up to five dwellings using a maximum of 865 sq m. The proposal is to double this from five to ten and create a single maximum of either 100 sq m or 150 sq m per dwelling. The maximum limit would rise to 1,000 sq m.
There is a proposal to allow for single storey rear extensions to be added at the time of conversions with a maximum depth of 4m. This will make a big change to new conversions. However the land to be extended would need to already be developed. So perhaps hard standing. This requirement might limit some scenarios. This additional space would be included in the overall limit of 1000 sq m.
It is proposed to allow Class Q to be undertaken in Conservation areas, AONB and National Parks once again increasing the pool of buildings. However rear extensions would be prevented in these areas.
One other change being considered under Class Q is the need to have a suitable access to the public highway.
Finally Class Q might be extended to former agricultural buildings that are no longer on an established agricultural unit or indeed buildings which are not used solely for agricultural purposes. Again this might open the door to more suitable buildings.
Other rural buildings to residential
This proposal might be to extend Class Q to other uses or to make a new Change of Use Class. Maybe Class QA?
This might extend to equestrian or forestry buildings which at the current time are not agricultural and would therefore fall outside the scope for Class Q. This would once again open up the possibility of conversion for many more buildings.
If this is a new Class then it too would benefit from rear extensions of up to 4m on previously developed land and up to 1,000 sq m.
This 1,000 sq m aligns with Part 6 for creating new agricultural buildings.
Will we be seeing farmers ensuring that the land behind their barns now have hard standing? They have the right to undertake this under Part 6.
Class R – agricultural buildings to a flexible commercial use
At the moment Class R allows you to take an agricultural building and go to any use in B8 (storage and distribution), E (commercial business & service) and C1 (hotels). The proposal is to extend this to include outdoor sports, recreation and fitness. This might include activities such as paintballing but not motor sports. Furthermore the scope might increase to all for B2 (general industrial) to all for the processing of raw meats on the farm to support farm shops for example.
The proposed floor space might also increase from 500 sq m to 1000 sq m and allow for multiple uses at the same time. Perhaps a hotel and a shop for example.
Other rural buildings to a flexible commercial use
If the changes to Class R wasn’t enough the government is proposing to extend Class R or to create a new Change of Use Class to allow other rural buildings to a flexible commercial use. This would also be for up to 1,000 sq m and might include forestry and equine buildings.
Part 6, Class A – agricultural development on land over 5ha
For extensions to existing barns it is proposed to also increase this to 25% without the need to seek prior approval. Extended barns could see the size increase from 1,000 sq m to 1,500 sq m. New buildings would still be limited to 1,000 sq m. Finally under Class A rights on land including a Scheduled Monument are likely to need full planning going forward for extensions.
Part 6, Class B – agricultural development on land under 5ha
The ability to increase existing barns would, like Class A, increase to 25% expansion with an overall limit of 1,250 sq m.
Like the changes to Class A, sites with a Scheduled Monument would be excluded from extensions.
Part 7, Class A – extension to shops
Class A allows for shops, offices etc., under Use Class E to increase by 50% or 100 sq m (whichever is the lesser). The proposal is to increase this limit to 100% or 200 sq m (whichever is the lesser) as long as it is not on Article 2(3) land. This includes conservation areas, AONB, National Parks etc. In these areas you will still be limited to 25% or 50 sq m.
Class A on Planning Geek
Part 7, Class H – erection, extension or alteration of an industrial building or warehouse
The proposal here is to increase the size of any new buildings from 200 sq m to 400 sq m as long as it is not on Article 2(3) land – i.e. conservation area, AONB, National Parks etc.
Extensions to qualifying buildings would increase from 50% to 75% or 1,000 sq m to 1,500 sq m, whichever is the lesser as long as it is not on Article 2(3) land.
Class H on Planning Geek
Part 4, Class B – temporary use of land for up to 28 days
At the moment Class B restricts the holding of a market to 14 days per annum. The proposal is to increase this period to either 28 days or another number of days. This will not affect Class BA of Part 12, which is for markets held by the local authority.
Timings of proposed changes / consultation
The consultation closes on 25th September. We would expect to see the final legislation laid before parliament in November or December. Although it could slip until January. There will be around a 4 week period before the changes become law. Prior to the implementation the rules will stay as they are now. Any applications after they become law will be subject to the new limits. Therefore you might wish to delay applying until they are in effect.
The online survey can be found at this location on the government website. All developers, land owners or those with any interest are encouraged to respond. Your voice really does count.
Well done if you have got this far! It is a long list of proposed changes, which we at Planning Geek think will benefit owners and developers alike.
You are welcome to discuss the changes on our Facebook group.
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Page updated: 6th August 2023