Permitted Development Rights in the UK?Change of Use from Office to Residential?the next chapter

by K&L Gates LLP

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment and Consequential Provisions) (England) Order 2014

Some recent changes have been made to the prior approval procedures for these permitted development rights, introduced by Eric Pickles in May last year, to permit the change of use of a building from Class B1(a) office to Class C3 residential. These changes are contained within article 5 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment and Consequential Provisions) (England) Order 2014 and came into effect on 6 April 2014.

In summary these changes:

  • Require a flood risk assessment to be submitted for certain prior approval applications. For sites within Flood Zones 1 (in an area with critical drainage problems), 2 or 3 as these are the sites on which the local planning authority (“the LPA”) are required to consult with the Environment Agency and it wasn’t possible to effectively consult without a flood risk assessment.
  • Enable an LPA to refuse an application if, in their opinion, the proposed development is not permitted development or the developer has provided insufficient information to enable the LPA to determine if it qualifies as permitted development. This requirement clearly puts the onus on developers to supply all relevant information to an LPA in support of their application, to avoid the risk of a refusal. In some cases it may be prudent for developers to submit evidence, as to the existing Class B1(a) use on or before the qualifying date of 30 May 2013 if this is likely to be in dispute.
  • Enable an LPA to seek further information from developers in order to determine the application, including the provision of details of any proposed operational development. LPAs already have the power to seek additional information from developers in support of their application for prior approval, in the form of transport assessments, flood risk assessments and Phase 1 environmental desk top surveys. This new power enables them to obtain details of any operational development that may be required, to facilitate the change of use of the building to residential use, for example, to permit a new access or any alterations to windows. These consequential works are not authorised by the prior approval procedures and require the submission of a stand-alone planning application. The extent to which LPAs may use this power to delay the determination of prior approval applications is at present, unclear.
  • Enable an LPA to attach conditions to any prior approval provided such conditions relate to those matters on which prior approval is sought. This provides clarity on the issue of whether LPAs could attach conditions to prior approvals, as a number of LPAs had been using informatives as a means of control. These conditions must be limited to controlling transport and highway impacts and/or contamination and flooding risks associated with the proposed development and must not relate to other wider planning issues.
  • Enable an LPA in determining the application to have regard to the NPPF in so far as it relates to those matters on which prior approval is sought. This clarifies the extent to which LPAs can have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework (“the NPPF”), following the refusal of the Utopia Village application in December 2013 by the London Borough of Camden on a wide range of issues. It reflects current advice to LPAs from the Department for Communities & Local Government ("DCLG") to limit their consideration of the NPPF to the three matters on which prior approval is sought, namely, transport and highways, flooding and contamination risks. This advice was encapsulated in the Ministerial Statement issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government dated 6 February 2014 (see our previous alert February 2014).

It is clear these changes provide a greater level of certainty to developers and will ensure a more consistent approach by local planning authorities in the determination of these applications. However in our view, the simplicity and speed of these prior approval applications is gradually being eroded, not least by the increasing level of supporting information that is now required for these types of applications. Developers will need to continue to weigh up the advantages of using these permitted development rights, over the more traditional route of obtaining planning permissions for any proposed residential development, bearing in mind the 3 year window for the use of these powers expires in May 2016.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© K&L Gates LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

K&L Gates LLP

K&L Gates LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.