Updates to permitted development rights on business conversions from August 2021

Legislation Update
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Following the shakeup of the use class system in September 2020 (Changes to the Use Classes Order come into force – Firstplan) the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has recently carried out a consultation on the proposed changes to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order to reflect the new changes that will take effect when the grace period for the previous Use Classes Order ceases on 31 July 2021.

Whilst the proposed changes open doors for new opportunities through the prior approval process, notably allowing for the conversion of Class E uses to residential (Permitted Development Rights for Class E to Residential Given the Green Light – Firstplan), the government does intend to revise a number of established permitted development rights to reflect the changes to the Use Classes Order.

Of note, one key change being proposed relates to Class I of the GPDO, which has until now allowed for the conversion of business premises from Class B2 (General industrial) / Class B8 (Storage and distribution) to Class B1 (c) (light industrial) and from Class B2 / B1 (c) to Class B8 without planning permission.

However, as a result of the changes to the Use Classes Order in September 2020 light industrial uses are now categorised under Class E (g) (iii), a use from which it is possible to convert a building into a range of retail and leisure uses without the need for planning permission. As such, rather than seeking revisions to the existing Order, MHCLG intend to remove the Class I right for the change of use from Classes B2 and B8 to Class E (g) (iii). Such a move would result in it now being necessary to apply for planning permission to convert existing warehouse units for industrial purposes, including in industrial estate locations.

Should you wish to discuss how this change, or indeed any of the recent changes, to the permitted development rights may affect you, please feel free to contact a member of the Firstplan team.