New Permitted Development Rights – Commercial to Residential Conversions

April 2021

An addition to the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) has been issued by Government which outlines a new proposal which permits the conversion of commercial buildings (Use Class E and specified Sui Generis) into residential use (Use Class C3) subject to conditions and prior approval.

This process will be contained within Class MA of Part 3 of the GDPO and will come into force on August 1st 2021.

In lieu of a formal guidance from Government, Avalon Planning & Heritage has prepared the attached advice note to inform you of these newly emerging freedoms.

There are a number of exemptions which preclude a site from Class MA including being within a SSSI, listed or safety hazard area among others.

The permitted change of use is also subject to prior approval from the LPA and will be assessed on the usual material matters such as flood risk, contamination, natural light etc. and, additionally, when in a Conservation Area and concerning the loss of the whole or part of the ground floor use, the character and sustainability of that designation (which will likely require an impact assessment).

There are also other limitations in terms of size (up 1500sqm) and that the building must be vacant for a period of at least 3 months prior to the date of application (where we anticipate the LPA will want to see proof).

As Class MA is set to subsume Class O (office to dwellinghouses), a further development is that it appears article 4 directions preventing this change will cease to have effect following 1st August 2022.

Download our PDF for further information