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Amendments to the General Permitted Development Order

Amendments to the General Permitted Development Order

On 9th May 2013 the government published its proposed changes to the General Permitted Development Order 1995, which will come into force in England 30th May 2013.

One of the more controversial changes will be the permitted change of use from office space to residential use without the need for planning permission, which has raised concerns that developments of this nature will avoid the obligation to provide affordable housing that would be expected as part of a planning application. However, a range of other changes will also affect town centres, residential and agricultural areas:

High street planning will become more flexible as many premises will be permitted to swap from one use to another for a limited period of up to two years, contributing to the viability and vitality of town centres by creating flexible accommodation for new businesses. Existing thresholds for business change of use will also be increased, whilst both business premises and private homes will benefit from three years of relaxed size restrictions for extensions.

Premises with a range of commercial uses will also be able to change to state-funded schools for one academic year under a temporary permitted development right, to ensure that the opening of new schools is not delayed, and permanently subject to transport and noise impact approval.

Agricultural buildings under 500m² will be permitted to permanently change use to a number of commercial uses. This, in conjunction with provisions to facilitate the efficient roll out of specific fixed-line broadband services in rural areas, is aimed at bringing prosperity to rural communities by encouraging diversification and creating jobs.

If you would like any further advice on how the new legislation may affect you, or the opportunities with which it might present you, please get in touch as we would be happy to advise you.