Extended permitted development rights take effect this month
Published: 22 May 2019

The extension of permitted development rights to allow high street conversions to offices and homes comes into effect on 25 May 2019.

The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development, Advertisement and Compensation Amendments) (England) Regulations SI 2019/907, were laid before Parliament earlier this month and do not include the right to allow upward extensions.

The legislation creates a new class, JA, in Part 3 of Schedule 2 the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order SI 2015/596. It allows local authorities to consider proposals for the conversion of shops and other high street uses such as takeaways and laundrettes to offices under the prior approval process.

Furthermore, Class M of Part 3 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order SI 2015/596 already allows retail and unique uses to be converted to residential without the need for planning permission, but the new amendments would allow takeaways to be converted into housing.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) group has responded to the legislation, claiming that making some development easier risks undermining local community and authority influence.

CPRE said it fears that extending this policy would enable developers to convert shops and local businesses without scrutiny, removing decisions and control from local authorities. Furthermore, local people would have little input over the type and tenure of developments on their high streets.

Matt Thomson, head of planning at CPRE said, "we welcome any reasonable measures that lead to the more effective use of previously developed land, and support the increased densification of urban areas. However, this plan is of deep concern. It presents a short-sighted attempt to increase housing numbers, undermines the planning system and ignores a variety of issues and complexities which should be taken into account for such proposals".

"A blanket approach for uncontrolled redevelopment of commercial buildings is unlikely to lead to good placemaking. It remains unclear how extending permitted development rights will ensure high-quality, affordable redevelopment - that connects with existing, and contributes to, new infrastructure - without the intervention of a normal planning application".

A number of organisations have expressed concerns about extending permitted development rights, including the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). In March, the institute urged housing and planning minister Kit Malthouse to scrap proposals that would see commercial buildings on high streets be converted into homes without planning permission.

For more information on this subject, see:

  • The Town and Country Planning (Permitted development, Advertisement and Compensation Amendments) (England) Regulations SI 2019/907.