Permitted Development Rights Update
‘Living in the Industrial Zone’
Following permitted office to residential conversion, the PDR permits conversion from light industrial to residential use.
Whilst on the face of it this may appear to be a helping hand from the Government to remedy the housing crisis, as with all concessions, there are of course limitations!
Hoops must be jumped through, the main one being that the gross floor space of the existing building must not exceed 500 square metres (5,380 square feet).
Other limitations require (as your would expect) prior approval from the local planning authority which will consider the bearing that a residential development will have on its surrounding infrastructure, as well as any contamination that may be present and, of course, flooding.
Even putting those restrictions to one side, it is perhaps still a tall order to achieve such a conversion. For those involved in industrial sites and development, it will come as no surprise that the characteristics and requirements of a commercial tenant do differ from a homeowner!
So, what can you take from this PDR?
If you are a small to medium-sized developer who has property that might perhaps fit the bill for such a conversion, then it will pay you to look at the suitability of your industrial building in the context of the usage within the vicinity. It would also pay you to act sooner rather than later as although the right is temporary for three years from 1 October 2017, many councils are already putting in place Article 4 directions to stem the application of PDR within their authorities. The impact on employment is a particular concern. There is a question about the suitability of the conversion to residential largely because light industrial buildings are just that – meaning that for the majority of conversions, separate planning applications will be required for any external alterations such as the simple introduction of windows!
The Government is continuing to look at ways in which it can appear to relieve the pressure on the housing crisis and although this PDR might not be groundbreaking, it is certainly an improvement on the last PDR that came into force on 6 April 2016 which permitted laundrettes to convert to residential use!