Office to resi update

Author: Mark Harnett

The Government has now issued the regulations which make permanent what was the temporary right to convert office buildings to residential use without obtaining an express grant of planning permission.  The new regime comes into effect on 6 April.  The prior approval procedure that must be complied with before works can commence now covers  the noise that is likely to be experienced by future residents as well as the highways impacts and flood and contamination risks that have to  be considered under the existing regime.  Developers will have three years, from the date upon which the new prior approval procedure has been completed, to complete the change to residential use.

The main surprise is that the revised rules do not provide for the demolition of existing buildings as had been anticipated.  We will need to see whether this does come forward in due course through the Housing and Planning Bill which is currently being considered by the House of Lords.

Mark Harnett, Partner, Fladgate LLP (

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