June 30th was a ‘big news’ day for property developers after the Prime Minister announced the ‘most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War’. The reforms would see existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, converted into residential housing more easily.
The government is set to launch a Planning Policy Paper later this month, setting out a plan for comprehensive reform of our planning system. We will have to wait until then for the finer detail, but a statement released by the government yesterday, suggested that the plan would ‘kick start the construction industry and speed up rebuilding’ and will include:
- More types of commercial premises having total flexibility to be repurposed through reform of the Use Classes Order. A building used for retail, for instance, would be able to be permanently used as a café or office without requiring a planning application and local authority approval. Pubs, libraries, village shops and other types of uses essential to the lifeblood of communities will not be covered by these flexibilities.
- A wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application.
- Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes.
- Property owners will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation.
Nic Rotton commented, ‘We see these new measures as great news for our landlord and developer clients, as the changes present more opportunities in the market and greater scope for a variety of different projects. We now have access to more and more Lenders in this space looking to support developments. This is only likely to improve further as the demand for finance increases, allowing our clients to manage cashflow and react to new opportunities as they arise.’
‘We are delighted that our clients will now have the freedom to adapt vacant commercial buildings into much needed, quality housing, especially in light of recent concern over the increase in vacant commercial office space. At the same time, it should also give a boost to the government’s target for the development of more homes and bring with it the opportunity to reinvent our high streets and rebuild communities.’
Contact us to discuss your next project:
Nic Rotton – Email: Click Here 07909 690190
Sarah Woolf – Email: Click Here 07971 349 126