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NPPF and changes of use from office to residential - emerging news

If you have been following the mooted GPDO changes hoping for office to residential, then start drawing breath again and maybe count a few chickens less. There is a possibility that changes may now be made through the National Planning Policy Framework instead, which would make this provision discretionary.

Rumours are continuing to circulate that ministers will water down plans to relax rules on changing offices into flats by including the proposals in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) rather than introducing them via secondary legislation.

Newspaper reports last week claimed that the government is watering down the plans following the widespread opposition from RTPI and RICS after concerns that 'the proposals were a blunt instrument that would have had unintended negative consequences'. These could have included creating homes in commercial areas severely lacking in residential amenities and prompting new residents to object to noise from neighbouring industrial occupiers.

Legislation would have been necessary to amend the General Permitted Development Order to allow office to residential conversions without planning permission. Through the NPPF, the opportunity is watered down and would 'advise planning authorities not to object to applications of this kind'.

The consultation responses are still under consideration and so we wait and see....


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