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Gove consults landlords on looser rules for commercial to residential conversions

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Landlords are being encouraged to share their thoughts on government plans to make it easier to convert larger department stores, space above shops and offices. 

As part of Housing Secretary Michael Gove's announcement on regeneration, inner-city densification and housing delivery across England, the consultation on new and amended permitted development rights aims to 'unleash building on underused sites in high-demand regions'�.

The government's report explains how residential uses can help diversify and create more resilient high streets.

'We are therefore exploring ways in which this right could be amended to reflect the changing landscape of our high streets and to deliver more homes," he says.

"Changes will support the delivery of additional homes across England that might otherwise have not come forward through a planning application.'�

Permitted development

The permitted development right currently allows up to 1,500 sqm of commercial, business and service use to change to residential, for example, to provide for up to 20 two-bed homes.

It proposes allowing more floorspace to change to residential use and wants views on whether the size cap should be doubled to 3,000 sqm or removed to provide no limits on the amount of floorspace that can change use.

Premises need to be vacant for a continuous period of at least three months immediately prior to the date of the application for approval under existing rights, as a way to safeguard against businesses being displaced.

But the government believes the requirement may be ineffective and could result in a property being left vacant for longer periods. It proposes removing this requirement to provide greater flexibility for owners, to enable more premises to change use, and deliver additional homes.

The consultation closes on 25th September.


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