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New permitted rights to support homes and high streets

Source BPF (British Property Federation) 09 May 2013

The property industry has welcomed a package of planning measures designed to promote the use of brownfield land to assist regeneration, and get empty and under-used buildings back into productive use. 

The British Property Federation today said the package of new ‘permitted development rights’ would help to increase housing supply and would offer support to struggling high streets by making it easier for entrepreneurs to set up new businesses. 

Announced in May 2013, the changes allow: 

  • Permitted development rights to convert offices to homes without planning permission, except in a handful of business districts
  • Redundant agricultural buildings of 500m2 to change to a range of new business uses
  • New retail ventures, financial and professional services, restaurants, cafes and businesses will be able to open for up to two years in a wide range of buildings
  • Change of use between different business uses (offices, storage and manufacturing) up to 500m 2, up from 235m2 previously.

The BPF said the proposals would give vacant buildings a new lease of life. It urged SMEs and landlords to look closely at the new flexibilities that were being offered on the high street, and highlighted the work of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the British Retail Consortium, which have created a short retail lease designed for short lets on high street retail property.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “Taken together this is a sensible package of measures to support homes and high streets.