New high street development rights

New development rights affecting shops and hot food takeaways come into effect on 25th May.

Under these new rights, known as Permitted Development (PD), shops and other high street uses can be converted into offices, and – strange as it sounds – hot food takeaways can be converted into homes.

However, this isn’t necessarily as straightforward as the term ‘Permitted Development’ would seem to imply.  Councils still hold the reins in terms of deciding what is suitable for a particular location, and whether conversion to a different use would impact on the sustainability of a shopping area, but it does provide a less stringent test.

Under the changes, a new class ‘JA’ of the General Permitted Development Order (GDPO) is created.  This allows for proposals to convert uses such as shops, takeaways, betting offices, payday loan shops and launderettes to offices.

The changes also allow for takeaways to be turned into housing under Class M of the GDPO, which already allows some uses to convert to residential without the need for planning permission, subject to notifications to the Council.

Understandably, there are concerns about plans to allow takeaways to be converted into homes, in terms of both residential amenity and the vitality of the night-time economy.

However, such proposals can’t simply go ahead without first submitting a Prior Approval notification to the local planning authority.  If you wish to take advantage of the new PD rights, it would be wise to talk to us first, and certainly before you start any conversion work.  We can help advise on what is likely to be permitted and negotiate with the council on your behalf.

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