Government released a new Consultation Paper on 3 December, setting out its intention to push forward with a new permitted right allowing buildings to change use from Class E to Residential. It will take effect, after it has passed through Parliament early next year, on 1 August 2021 and see the end of Use Class D and many existing Prior Approval rights such as Class O (B1 to C3) and Class M Rights (Selected retail uses to C3).
If this ‘consultation’ comes into effect, then it would significantly broaden the scope of the existing residential conversion rights - as it would not only apply to offices, light industrial and retail, but also to restaurants, gyms, medical facilities and crèches.
The new right is intended to apply to ALL Class E buildings, regardless of the size of the property in question. It is also intended to apply in Conservation Areas! There may be other uses such as takeaways, betting shops and launderettes, to which these changes might be similarly extended. However, the government is yet to decide on the precise details as there are nearly 50 separate pieces of legislation covering different types of PD and Prior Approval rights.