• Sectors we work in banner(2)

    Quick Reads

New permitted development right to convert unused commercial premises into homes to come into force

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that new permitted development rights allowing unused commercial premises to be converted into homes via a fast-track prior approval will be laid before Parliament today (31 March 2021) as part of a package of measures designed to revitalise England's high streets and help them to adapt and thrive.

In order to qualify for the permitted development right the commercial premises must have been:

  • in a Commercial Business and Service use (within the new Use Class E) for two years; and
  • vacant for 3 months before the date of application for prior approval.

The amount of floorspace which can change use under the new right will be limited to 1,500 square metres of floorspace in order to focus the right on medium sized high street sites. It is intended to take effect from 1 August 2021. Existing Article 4 directions preventing changes of use from office to residential will continue to have effect until 31 July 2022.

Prior approval will be required from the local planning authority on matters of flooding, noise impact, provision of adequate natural light to all habitable rooms, and where relevant, the impact of the loss of health centres and registered nurseries on the provision of such local services. In conservation areas the local planning authority will also be required to consider the impact of the loss of the ground floor Commercial, Business and Service use. Any homes approved will need to meet the national space standards.

It is assumed that the new right will extend to apply to all of high street uses covered by Class E, although that will become clear once the legislation is available.

Other measures forming part of the package to boost the high street's recovery include:

  • a new fast track for extending public service buildings including schools, colleges, universities and hospitals
  • relaxation of planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways
  • longer opening hours for retail to provide flexibility and reduce pressures on transport
  • extension the provisions for temporary pavement licences.

Further measure include an extension of permitted development rights for ports and amendment of the permitted development rights for demolition in relation to the removal of unlisted heritage assets.

We will be reporting on the detail of the revisions in due course.

The new rules, announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, will help support the creation of much-needed homes while also giving high streets a new lease of life – removing eyesores, transforming unused buildings and making the most of brownfield land.

Our thinking

  • Property Patter - Great Estates Miniseries - part 1

    Cara Imbrailo

    Podcasts

  • A Glimpse into Saudi Arabia's Tourism and Leisure Vision 2030 and Beyond

    Reem Al Mahroos

    Quick Reads

  • The Building Safety Act 2022 – Considerations for Real Estate Lenders

    James Walton

    Insights

  • Charles Russell Speechlys advises on the new build residential sales at the super-prime Chelsea Barracks development

    Suzi Gatward

    News

  • Charles Russell Speechlys advises Countryside Partnerships on its joint venture with Abri to develop 1,500 homes in West Sussex

    Sarah Wigington

    News

  • Logistics sector – 2024 outlook

    Sarah Keens

    Insights

  • Easements - watch out for Prescriptive Rights!

    James Bateman

    Quick Reads

  • Charles Russell Speechlys hosts international arbitration event in Dubai

    Peter Smith

    Quick Reads

  • It’s not just a High Court decision, it’s a successful M&S High Court Decision

    Sophie Willis

    Quick Reads

  • The key updates to the NPPF on housing delivery

    Titilope Hassan

    Insights

  • What does the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 mean for nutrient neutrality?

    Sophie Willis

    Insights

  • The countdown to mandatory biodiversity net gain

    Rachael Davidson

    Insights

  • The Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act 2023 & compulsory purchase

    Claire Fallows

    Insights

  • A new option for varying planning permissions

    Titilope Hassan

    Insights

  • The Infrastructure Levy – a new tax on development

    Sophie Willis

    Insights

  • The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 - a tighter planning enforcement regime

    Sadie Pitman

    Insights

  • Ready, set, commence: The new commencement notice under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990

    Titilope Hassan

    Insights

  • Environmental Outcome Reporting: Overhauling EIA?

    Rachael Davidson

    Insights

  • The Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023: streamlining and simplifying plan making?

    Rachael Davidson

    Insights

  • Overview of the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill: What are the key provisions?

    Laura Bushaway

    Insights

Back to top