DCLG announced four changes to the permitted development rights, which are intended to make it easier to bring previously developed land back into use.

The main focus of the new permitted development rights has been on the change of use of Office B1 (a) to Residential C3. The Government believes that this will make the best use of developed sites by allowing them to be quickly brought back into use, subject to seeking prior approval from the LPA. This also provides homes that the Government believes are badly needed to contribute to easing the national housing shortage. However, any associated physical development that would have previously required planning permission will still require permission.

A number of other proposals aimed at promoting regeneration are also proposed, including:

  • Bringing redundant agricultural buildings back into use   The changes permitted will be subject to size restrictions and the prior approval process, but would allow uses that benefit rural locations such as shops, restaurants, leisure facilities, small hotels and offices, but excludes residential.
  • Greater flexibility for business uses Changes between business use under permitted development for B1 to B8 and B2 to B1 and B8 are subject to a size limit of 235 square metres, this will be increased to 500 square metres.
  • Bringing empty town centre buildings back into use A range of temporary changes in use will be permitted for up to 2 years to contribute to the regeneration of town centres. The alternative uses available will included: shops A1, financial and professional services A2, restaurants and cafes A3 and offices B1.