New measures are being put into place which will help developers to turn commercial buildings into residential housing.

Introduced in the new class PA of the General Permitted Development Order, it will allow developers to change the use of premises from a light industrial use to a residential use.

While approval will still be needed with regards factors such as flooding and contamination, full planning permission will not be needed.

This marks a further relaxation of development rights following similar initiatives which have seen offices being turned into homes without full planning permission.

The new permitted development right is only applicable to applications received by a Local Authority on or after 1 October 2017 and for which prior approval is granted before 1 October 2020.

As with other prior approval applications, there are a number of conditions attached to the permitted development right including that the gross floorspace of the existing building cannot exceed 500 square metres, and the site must have been in use solely within the light industrial class. B1 (c) on 19 March 2014 or if it was not in use on the 19 March 2014, the last use prior to 19 March 2014 must have been light industrial B1(c) use

The new right creates a great opportunity for developers to make use of unused sites whilst tackling the UK’s housing crisis.