Permitted Development
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New permitted development law in the UK

The UK made major changes to planning laws in May 2019, and this summary from the experts at AC Design Solutions highlights all the ways the new permitted development law will ease the development pathway for all types of property.

About the UK permitted development law changes

The change to permitted development laws took place on 25 May 2019. The new laws make it far easier to change the use of business property and develop onto the rear of domestic premises. It’s part of the government’s commitment to speed up the delivery of a variety of new homes, and means that existing commercial and retail buildings can easily be increased upwards with this accommodation switched over to residential use. Agricultural and commercial buildings meeting specific criteria can also be switched over to residential use, just so long as no more than five homes are created within any development. While owners of residential properties will find it’s much easier to add large rear extensions to their homes.

The new development law specifics

Just some of the specified changes to permitted development law in the UK from May 2019 include:

Retail shops

Certain A1/A2/A5 shops with sizes of up to 500 square metres can now switch to office use. The local planning team will still need to give prior approvals so that any environmental or sustainability on surrounding areas can be assessed properly. Professional and financial service retailers, payday loan providers, betting shops, hot food takeaways, and launderettes are all impacted by this change.

It was already the case that all the above retail outlets with the exception of hot food takeaways could change up to 150 square metres of internal space to residential use. From May 2019, hot food takeaways are included in this legislation. Again, prior approval from local planners should be sought before carrying out any works.

Temporary flexible use changes for retail outlets have been extended, to include community use, such as exhibition spaces, libraries, museums, etc. The changeover period for switches to temporary flexible use has also been extended from two years to three.

Residential extensions to the rear of the property can now be much bigger than before, with no need for any formal planning applications. It’s now possible for any single-storey extension to a detached home to be extended from the rear of the property by up to eight metres, while semi-detached and terraced properties can be extended by up to six metres. Again, approval from planners will need to be sought prior to works but this should not be unreasonably withheld. This planning amendment is now set in law as a permanent right for any homeowner. The new regulations also make it easier to build two-storey extensions, subject to height limitations and building materials utilised.

In addition, planning laws relating to the increased volume of domestic property extensions have been relaxed. In previous years it was often impossible to extend at the rear of a home if a loft or attic extension was already in place. This was because the rear extension would take the potential total volume to a higher than allowable level. This restriction has been separated, so it’s now quite possible to extend a home upwards and at the rear.

The drawback for homeowners is that the total extended space of any home should not exceed 50% of the land in ownership, and this includes any previous extensions to the property going right back to 1948.

Just some of the new permitted developments for homeowners include;

– Adding a porch
– Converting loft space for occupational use
– Adding solar panels
– Addition of rooflights
– Extending at the rear of the home
– Just about any type of outbuilding can also be added to homes, just so long as they are not in front of the building line of the dwelling.

Switching existing buildings over to residential use

As already noted, existing buildings can now be upgraded to residential, including offices, barns, and other agricultural buildings. These rights were previously in place for a stipulated amount of time. They have now been declared permanent development rights. This makes it far easier to turn redundant city centre and suburban offices into homes, although prior approval is still needed.

Changes in the pipeline

Concerns about changing use for distribution premises and similar storage buildings have been expressed, however, the UK government is committed to allowing temporary change of use from B8 to C3 residential for these structures. It is not considered this will be made into a permanent right, or that permissions for extended residential use will be available.

How do I change the use on my London property or extend my existing home?

Now you’ve read more about permitted developments, you could be keen to submit your own change of use application in London. You’ll still need expert support and advice, as it’s important you don’t fall foul of Building Regulations, and drawings will also be required by your local planning authority.

These new permitted development laws make it far easier to switch the use of any existing commercial or retail building and increase the flexibility of any property you own. Why not take time to browse our website to discover all the ways our experts could help ensure your development plans come to fruition? Like any changes to planning and building regulations, these new permitted development laws can be a trap for the unwary. That’s the reason it’s such a good idea to team up with experts at the outset. Very often, if it’s considered unlikely that approvals will be given to future applications, the design team will come up with a proposal that’s more likely to go straight through.

Before applying for any residential extension, commercial or retail change of use, contact the experts at AC Design Solutions

AC Design Solutions provide all the essential, professional and affordable support you need to progress your permitted development successfully. We provide the expert structural engineer service London residents demand and specialise in party wall surveys that offer guaranteed planning success. We’re extremely proud of our high rates of planning success in London and elsewhere in the UK, and can give you all the essential design and planning support you need to get approval for your change of use for any commercial property or residential extension. Give us a call today to find out more!