Developers will be interested in recent changes to development rights which makes their ability to change a building used as an office to a residential estate permanent. Conditions to the extended right include allowing the local planning authority (LPA) to consider noise impacts on the intended occupants of the development from premises in commercial use and requiring a developer in the process of changing a building to residential use to submit to the LPA a statement specifying the net increase in the number of dwelling houses proposed by the development. The new rules will only apply to applications made after 5 April 2016.

In addition to this a temporary right to change a building in light industrial use to residential use was introduced. This right is for three years, applying where an application for determination as to whether prior approval is required is made on, or after, 1 October 2017 and the prior approval date occurs on, or before, 30 September 2020. Two caveats to this are the development must be completed within three years of the prior approval date and the gross floor space of the existing building must be 500 square metres or less.

Please note that the above does not constitute legal advice.