PDR: Does greater freedom mean less red tape? - Palmers Solicitors

PDR: Does greater freedom mean less red tape?

The government has extended the temporary rule allowing underused offices to be converted into homes without planning permission.

The measure, rolled out in 2013 under permitted development rights (PDR), was set to expire in May 2016. But this autumn, the government announced it was encouraging the delivery of thousands of new homes by making PDR permanent.

Additional updates mean that those who already have planning permission will have three years in which to complete the change of use. In the future, the demolition of office buildings to make way for new homes will also be allowed, with light industrial buildings and launderettes also falling within the boundaries of the process.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We’re determined that, both in Whitehall and in town halls, everything is done to get homes we need built.”

“[The] measures will mean we can tap into the potential of underused buildings to offer new homes for first-time buyers and families long into the future, breathing new life into neighbourhoods and at the same time protecting our precious green belt.”

While the deadline has been removed, it does not mean the process is obstacle-free. Local planning authorities, for instance, still have a significant say.

Maisie Yau, a Palmers solicitor and member of the Property team, said: “In theory, this sounds like an automatic green light, but conversion of this type is complex and full of potential pitfalls. It should not be entered into lightly and I recommend those with change-of-use plans to speak to advisers experienced in these matters. For more information on the service we provide, please contact us.”