Permitted developments on office-to-residential set to stay

In a move that has pleased Development Specialist Richard Carr, Planning and Housing minister Brandon Lewis last week announced that the temporary office-to-residential permitted development (PD) right will be made permanent.

Rip down and start again

Richard Carr Office to Commercial

Temporary rights are set to be made permanent on permitted developments

On top of making the temporary right permanent, Minister Lewis also said that the move would allow for unused office buildings to be pulled down and replaced with residential buildings.

The temporary decision was due to lapse at the end of May 2016.

Also, for developers who applied for a change of use during the temporary period, Lewis confirmed that they will three years in which to complete the change of use. In addition to the new PD rights, developers will be allowed to change the use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to new homes.

Thousands more homes

The government hopes that the move will create space and encourage developers to create thousands more new homes. The government also see the move as a way of protecting the green belt, something they cited ahead of the recent General Election.

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.”


There are 17 local authorities across England which are currently exempt from the PD rights, a few are listed below:

  • The City of London
  • The London Central Activities Zone, which covers parts of the boroughs of Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Westminster, Newham, and Kensington and Chelsea
  • Areas in the borough councils of Stevenage, and Ashford (Kent)
  • Areas in the district councils of Sevenoaks and East Hampshire
  • Manchester City Centre

This will remain the way until May 2019 when they will have to make an Article 4 direction if they wish to continue determining planning applications for the change of use.

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