Change of Use: New Permitted Development Rights

The coalition Government will be bringing into force in Spring 2013 new permitted development rights (for three years) for the following:

  • Offices (B1(a) use class) to Residential (C3 use class); and
  • Change of use of agricultural buildings to a range of other uses (excluding residential use).

Why are the Government doing this? They wish to promote the reuse of brownfield land to assist regeneration, and get empty and underused buildings into productive use. This new measure also supports the National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF) objective in seeking to significantly boosting the supply of housing.

Rural Solutions’ Director of Planning stated:

If you look deeper into the implications of these new development rights you will see significant development opportunities ahead. It is essential these are grasped early given the potential short timeframe of the new rights.”

Offices to Residential

As ever there is devil in the detail but this new development principle will be incredibly valuable to the financial security of many property owners. There will be a prior approval process concerning issues of highways, flood risk and land contamination impact.

Agricultural Buildings to New Uses

There is no specific detail in the Government statement on the potential new uses of agricultural buildings other than to exclude their residential use. It is highly likely the new rights will relate to all types of agricultural building, whether  they be of traditional or modern appearance. The Government’s earlier (July 2012) consultation on this matter raised the following as potential changes of use – retail (A1), financial and professional (A2), restaurant and cafes (A3), business (B1), hotels (C1) and D2 uses (assembly and leisure). The Government are proposing a size restriction and, for conversions above a set size, a prior approval process will be put in place to guard against unacceptable impacts such as transport and noise.

As soon as Rural Solutions uncovers the precise rights we shall post them at our website.

Please click here to read The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Eric Pickles) report on ‘change of use: promoting regeneration’.

The opportunities are clear to see and it is wise to start preparing early for their implementation. Please do not hesitate to contact Duncan Hartley at Rural Solutions on 01756 796199 to discuss the implications of these new rights for your property (or email

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