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The measures introduced in 2013 which allowed offices to be converted into homes without having to apply for planning permission are set to stay following an announcement by the Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis on October 13. Brought in as part of a wider package to address the ongoing shortage of housing stock, the measures were due to expire on 30 May 2016.
These Permitted Development rights are now set to become permanent and furthermore developers who have already secured prior approval for conversions under the simplified consent process will also now have until 2019 to complete them thereby extending the original longstop date of May 2016.
Further reforms will include extending the existing right from just B1(a) office use to include B1(c) light industrial use as well as some sui generis uses. However, as part of the prior approval process in respect industrial conversions it is anticipated that the impact on neighbouring employment uses will be a material consideration in granting approval. It is also expected that the changes will provide for the demolition of office buildings for new build residential units although the details are still awaited.