Amendments to Permitted Development Rights – Good News for Developers

Further to our October 2015 note, the much anticipated amendments to the permitted development rights are now just around the corner with The Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016 coming into force on 6th April 2016. The Statutory Instrument makes a number of significant amendments in respect to changes of use to residential property.

Key changes

  1. The relaxed temporary permitted development right to change offices into residential properties is to be made permanent (subject to a condition allowing the Local Planning Authority to consider certain noise impacts). Any such change of use under the permanent development rights must be completed within three years of the prior approval date.
  2. Those areas which are currently excluded from these permitted development rights (Listed under Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the GPDO Order 2015), many of which are in London, will have their exclusion extended to May 2019. Beyond that date, an Article 4 Direction would be needed in order to remove the Right.
  3. Extension of permitted development rights so as to include the change of use from launderette to residential property.
  4. Introduction of a new temporary right to change use from light industrial to residential via the creation of a new Class PA (subject to various conditions). Applications in respect to this PD cannot be accepted on or before 30th September 2017.

NOTE: The proposal set out in the October 2015 statement to extend permitted development rights to enable the demolition of office buildings to make way for residential developments is not currently included in the GPDO 2016 amendments.


As well as being widely welcomed by developers, the Government hopes that these amendments will go some way in reducing bureaucracy and costs generally within the planning system, allowing business to lessen the time and monetary burdens of submitting planning applications. The changes are however likely to have negative impacts in respect to available office space and potentially increase commercial rents, likely to be most notable in central London.

PLEASE NOTE: this briefing note contains information about current legal issues and is only intended as a general statement of the law – it does not give legal advice. No action should be taken in reliance on this note without specific legal advice.

For further information please contact:

nick green Nick Green
Partner, Property