Since 2013 there has been a permitted development right which allows developers to create residential units from offices without the need for planning applications, and free from affordable housing and other obligations. It relates to internal alterations only. Planning permission is needed for external works. The temporary measures were due to expire on 30 May 2016 but have now been made permanent.
Developers have been reluctant to use the temporary permitted development right provisions over the last few months because the residential use must have ‘begun’ by 30 May 2016. The new regulations clarify this and projects now have three years from the date of prior approval for the use to have ‘begun’. The new rules came into effect on 6 April 2016. As promised, they allow office to residential conversion as a permanent permitted development right.