Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis has announced new measures that will make it easier to turn underused office buildings into new homes.
The move is designed to provide thousands of new homes, and make the best use of existing buildings, which could include some that are currently underused and neglected.
Discussing the new measures Brandon Lewis said:
“We’re determined that, both in Whitehall and in town halls, everything is done to get the homes we need built.
“Today’s measures will mean we can tap into the potential of underused buildings to offer new homes for first-time buyers and families long into the future, breathing new life into neighbourhoods and at the same time protecting our precious green belt.”
First introduced in 2013, temporary permitted development rights have enabled offices to be converted to new homes without having to apply for planning permission. It has meant that Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis between April 2014 and June this year, almost 4,000 conversions were given the go-ahead.
However, these rights were set to expire on 30 May 2016 – potentially introducing a raft of unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy that would have hampered the conversion of underused office buildings and slowed down the delivery of thousands of new homes.
The Minister has announced that these permitted development rights will now be made permanent. In addition those who already have permission will have 3 years in which to complete the change of use – ending potential uncertainty for developers and enabling the development of much needed homes.
To further support the delivery of new homes, the rights will in future allow the demolition of office buildings and new building for residential use. In addition, new permitted development rights will enable the change of use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to new homes.