Permitted development rights allow the change of use of an office building and land within its curtilage or any storage or distribution centres to change to a residential use without the need for planning consent; however prior approval from the council must be sought.
‘Prior approval’ involves the developer applying to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the local planning authority will be required e.g. due to transport and highways impacts of the development, contamination risks on the site and flooding risks on the site. If none of these are impacted upon, planning permission is not required and the change of use can proceed without conditions, restrictions or any s106 financial contributions.
The government is also introducing the change of use of industrial buildings into residential from the 1st October 2017, for a temporary period of 3 years.
Subsequently there are few controls to allow the Council to carefully consider the appropriate location of residential development within these areas, posing a risk to the existing businesses that may not be a compatible neighbour to domestic uses.
In addition the council has also recognised the harm to residents which would be isolated from communities and the facilities they provide, and therefore seeks to remove the permitted development rights to change use to a residential dwelling through the introduction of the Article 4 direction.
This does not mean that the development would not be allowed, but that a formal planning application would be required and assessed against planning policies and through public consultation.
Following the close of the consultation period, the Council confirmed the Order on 30 September 2016 which will come into force on 1 October 2017.