From 6 April 2014 permitted development rights have been extended to allow further changes of use, without the need for planning permission.
The changes come into force under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment and Consequential Provisions) (England) Order 2014 and create four new classes of permitted development (PD) rights.
Class CA - change of use from a shop (A1) to a bank, building society, credit union or friendly society (a subset of A2)
This new PD right aims to improve the economic vitality of town centres. It is hoped that by removing the requirement for planning permission there will be corresponding improvements in occupancy levels and footfall.
Planning permission will still be required for any external changes to the premises and anyone implementing this change of use will have to notify their local planning authority, with proof of the new use, as soon as reasonably practicable.
Class IA - change of use from a shop (A1) or financial and professional services property (A2) to residential (A3)
This PD right allows conversion from A1 or A2 to residential use, along with conversion of properties with a combined use of residential and A1 or A2 use to residential outright. The introduction of this PD right is set within a context of growing concern over housing shortages.
This PD right is restricted to cases where the building was used for a purpose within use class A1 or A2 on 20 March 2013 or, if this is not the case, when it was last in use. It is also notable that this right is excluded if the cumulative floor space of the existing building exceeds 150 square metres, or if the development along with any previous Class IA development would lead to over 150 square metres of floor space in the building having changed use. This PD right is also excluded where the property is a Listed Building.
One significant element of this new PD right, is that developers will still be required to submit an application for prior approval to the local planning authority. Issues under consideration will include transport impacts and whether, in the case of shopping areas, the change of use would be to the detriment of the sustainability of that shopping area.
Class MA - change of use from an agricultural building to a state-funded school or registered nursery
This new PD right is subject to extensive conditions and restrictions on its application but adds further weight to central government attempts to revitalise rural economies by facilitating a range of developments.
It is important to note that this PD right cannot be used where, less than one year before the development begins, an agricultural tenancy over the property has terminated and the termination was for the purposes of carrying out Class MA development. This is intended to stop this new PD right having an adverse impact on the agricultural economy.
This PD right is also subject to the 'prior approval' process, referred to as a 'light-touch' planning permission.
Class MB - change of use from an agricultural building to residential (A3)
This new PD right is another effort to bring old agricultural buildings back into use and revitalise rural areas.
There are numerous restrictions to this right. The cumulative floor space of the existing building changing use must not exceed 450 square metres, and the cumulative number of residential units must not exceed three.
As with class MA, this right cannot be used where an agricultural tenancy has been terminated for the purposes of carrying out this change of use, unless the landlord and tenant agree in writing that the property is no longer required for agricultural use. There are also numerous restrictions on the types of development suitable.
This PD right is also subject to the 'prior approval' process and there is wide scope for refusal. In particular, local planning authorities can refuse to grant prior approval if the location of the property makes it impractical or undesirable for such a change of use to occur.