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How to Make a 30% Profit on GDV Just Through PD Rights

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

Local planning authorities are not great fans of permitted development and prior approval, especially of the new Class MA permitted development rights, which make it easier for developers to convert redundant shop and office space to much-needed new apartments in town centres and High Street locations.

In a recent case, in the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames (RoT/ the Council), we helped a client to get prior approval through in a ‘race against time’ before an imminent new Article 4 Direction came into force, which would have meant that a full planning permission would have been needed.

The case proved to be more difficult than it might appear on the face of it, but in the end will return about 30% profit on the gross development value (GDV) of the project – just through using the new PD rights.

Diamond in the rough
The property concerned comprises a shop in Richmond Road, London. The shop was very deep and, like many small business retailers in the High Street, could be used much more efficiently, without the need for quite so much space to the rear:

The effect of the pandemic in accelerating demand for online shopping, lowering footfall to some High Street locations and adding cost pressures on businesses, has pushed these premises on to the market. There it remained while several sales fell through, until our clients took the plunge.

Before committing to the deal, they sought our advice in January 2022 as the council was looking to bring in an Article 4 Direction at the end of July 2022 to withdraw PD rights under Class MA to turn such premises into apartments.

The rear of the shop had a deep but narrow floor plate but opened on to a rear yard, with potential for a small garden or landscaped courtyard, and access for bins and bicycles. The property is in a conservation area, controlled parking zone (CPZ), secondary shopping frontage and flood zones 2 and 3.

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