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New Permitted Development Rights: ‘Ready, Set, Go…?’

Planning consultant David Kemp BSc (Hons) MRICS Barrister* (*non-practising) and Director at DRK Planning Ltd, comments

Back in the April issue of PIN, we wrote about the ‘New Gold Rush’ of New Permitted Development (PD) and Prior Approval (PA) Rights through a new class of PD/PA coming into effect from 1 August 2021 – Class MA.

‘MA’ is claimed by some commentators to be an abbreviation of ‘Mercantile-Abode’, signalling the potential to change from Commercial Uses in the new Class E of the Use Classes Order to Class C3 (self-contained residential use). However, it is potentially such a ‘game-changer’ for the reasons set out in the April issue (e.g. wider class of uses, new date stamp, applies in conservation areas, etc.), that it could be said that ‘MA’ stands for the ‘Mother of All’ PD rights!

With this in mind, we will now revisit Class MA and see how this ‘fits in’ with a wider PD/PA-led development strategy, taking into account all of the other principal change of use and new floor space rights affecting commercial buildings.

Current PD rights for Change of Use
The following table summarises the principal PD opportunities currently available (as of 1 July 2021) :_see table.

It should of course be remembered that national space standards apply to ALL of the above where the proposal involves the creation of new self-contained flats under Class C3. This applies not only to Class M, N, O, and Q above, but also to Class L rights when changing from an HMO (6 people maximum) to Class C3 and from space above retail to residential under Class C3 (Class G rights).

‘Class G’ PD Rights
Developers can currently change space above a shop (Class A1 retail or Class A2 professional services – both now Class E(a) and E(b), respectively) to Class C3 flats; see Class G, above. Where a property is already in a mixed use (shops with flats above), then the flats can be changed to ancillary commercial space above the shops under Class H of the GPDO.  

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