Sunday20 August 2017

Boles open to exemptions from change of use plans as backlash grows

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Planning minister says government will listen to “good arguments” against office to residential conversions

Planning minister Nick Boles has said he is open to “good arguments” for exemptions to a policy allowing office to residential conversions without planning permission.

The backlash among local authorities to the policy is continuing to grow, with councils up and down the country indicating they are likely to seek exemptions.

Nick Boles

Nick Boles

Councils in Westminster, the City of London and Southwark have confirmed they will seek exemptions. Birmingham said it was “likely” to do so, while Camden, Sheffield and Bristol said they are considering such a move.

Boles told a Communities and Local Government select committee: “It will be a reasonably high test that will apply but we are open to good arguments about particular places that might have a good case for exemption.”

“The one that everyone has talked about is the City of London but that’s by no means the only one.”

Boles confirmed that councils can use Article Four Directions, which withdraw permitted development rights, to exempt themselves from the change of use plans.

However, authorities choosing to do so would be open to compensation claims from landowners whose plans are rejected within 12 months of the direction being made.


Readers' comments (1)

  • It is tough enough keeping up with planning policy and advising clients accordingly as it is without every councils having different policies. The rules on change of use should be universal. We already have this issue with CIL and now code for sustainable house where different councils have different requirement.. Scrap the permitted developers bit and just look at each case on it merits .. We did an application last years for office to resi and we got approval because we were able to prove that it had been empty for 4 years and marketed correctly.

    Andy Ramus
    AR Design Studio.

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