Greg Clark has announced a useful extra element to the review of use classes (other elements including conversion to schools and commercial buildings being converted to residential without planning permission being needed for the material change of use).

This latest announcement makes clear the intention to be more generous to temporary uses which bring otherwise empty properties into economic use. Although it may be less than straightforward to identify which buildings qualify for the allowance, the move would be a valuable one. When the Government is looking at this, it would be worth taking account of the way in which temporary uses, commenced without planning permission (but not enforced against), can inadvertantly bring previously lawful uses to an end resulting in the need for planning permission to revert.

One way of bringing in the allowance for temporary uses would be to encourage local planning authorities to do so by Local Development Orders. That way, local issues around empty properties could be considered in their local context.