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GPDO – Light Industrial to Residential – Class PA
Sunday 1st October 2017, after 18 months, the world of permitted development rights waits no more: the temporary permitted development right for change of use from light industrial to residential becomes a reality. From Sunday, and for the next three years, changing the use of a light industrial building (or part of a building so used) that is use class B1(c)[1], to residential, use class C3, benefits from a new permitted development right, subject to a prior approval process and various limitations and conditions, of course.  Or more specifically: Class PA – premises in light industrial use to dwellinghouses Development consisting of a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use falling within Class B1(c) (light industrial) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of that Schedule. Here are the exemptions and limitations: The building must have been used solely for light industrial on 19th March 2014 (or when last in use if not in use on or since that date), The prior approval date[2] must be before 1st October 2020; The gross floorspace of the existing building cannot exceed 500 sq.m; If occupied under an agricultural tenancy, express consent of both tenant and landlord is required, No development can begin within one year of terminating an agricultural tenancy if it was terminated for the purpose of changing the use by virtue of Class PA (unless both the tenant and landlord have agreed in writing that the site is no longer required for agricultural purposes), The site cannot be or form part of a site of special scientific interest; safety hazard zone or a military storage area, The building cannot be listed, or be within the curtilage of a listed building; and The site must not be or contain a scheduled monument. As for the application for a determination as to whether prior approval is required, the developer must submit (amongst other things) a statement proving the building was solely in light industrial (B1(c)) use on 19th March 2014 (or when last in use if not in use on that date, and not in use since) – i.e. the lawful use of the building is solely B1(c), and this was the case on 19th March 2014.  The developer must also state the net increase in the number of dwellinghouses proposed. And the local planning authority must consider whether its prior approval is required with regard to: Transport and highways impact on the development Contamination risks Flood risks; and Whether the change of use of the building to residential would have an adverse impact on the sustainability of the provision of industrial and/or storage or distribution services in that area - if the building (or part of a building, if only part is being converted) considered by the LPA as important for provision of those services. Development under class PA, if permitted, is subject to the condition that it be completed within a period of three years starting with the date of prior approval. Details of Class PA are in the April 2016 amendment to the GPDO[3] The Reaction Are we excited/worried about the changes…? Well, in respect of the latter,  LB Southwark clearly are - on Thursday 28th September 2017, they announced consultation on an immediate Article 4 direction[4] removing Class PA permitted development rights in specified locations (Local and Strategic Preferred Industrial Locations and existing and emerging site allocations for comprehensive mixed use development). An immediate Article 4 Direction would open the Council up to potential claims for compensation under the terms of  the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) and the Town and Country Planning (Compensation) (England) Regulations 2015 (as amended). Not a decision taken lightly, I suspect. Others have already used Article 4 Directions, albeit a little while earlier, including LB Hounslow – where an Article 4 Direction comes into force in January 2018, and LB Islington, where it’s already in force, to name but a few. But are these councils right to be cautious, are we about to see a glut of changes of use removing light industrial space from our towns and cities? In my view, probably not. The combination of finding a building that is under 500sqm, that can be proved to be, or to have been solely in B1(c) use and that would not be deemed to impact on the sustainability of the provision of surrounding industrial and  storage uses may be tough. Particularly as the term ‘sustainability’ is not defined in the GPDO and is subject to interpretation (i.e. a matter of fact and degree that the decision-maker can decide). So I don’t imagine an office to residential-style (Class O) style rush. But I suspect a few will test the water early on, perhaps on a par with the right for change of use from retail to residential (Class M). Assuming the Government captures the statistics as they do with other permitted development rights, we’ll find out in the next few quarterly releases how popular it has been. Of course, if you do have a building you think may qualify for this permitted development right, and are interested in finding out more about how you may go about the prior approval process , please don’t hesitate to contact Lichfields. Download Lichfields Use Class Order @OwainNedin   [1] Use Class B1(c): use for any industrial process, being a use which can be carried out in any residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area by reason of noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, soot, ash, dust or grit [2] “prior approval date” is defined in Paragraph X of Part 3 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) and means the date on which— (a) prior approval is given; or (b) a determination that such approval is not required is given or the period for giving such a determination (in this case 56 days) has expired without the applicant being notified whether prior approval is required, given or refused. [3]  [4] Image credit: Arcaid Images / Alamy Stock Photo


Town planning… an Olympic sport

Owain Nedin 15 Aug 2016
The town planner… elbow patches on the jumper, well-worn cords, comfortable shoes, never without a packed lunch/flask and epitomised by a fetish for maps. Fettered by rules and regulations, but seemingly willing more red tape in which he/she can immerse themselves and their expertise. The geek of the property world no doubt, but a necessary part of the process, one our clients wouldn’t want to do without (we hope). Not, of course, my view of this wonderful profession and the people in it, although perhaps an opinion held by some…But wait – what’s this, could it be, surely not?! All this time, the contemporary planner hails from similar stock to Wiggins, Ennis-Hill and Farah. That’s right, people of the property world, town planning was an Olympic event and all who practice it are, by the most tenuous link possible, of Olympic pedigree.For four consecutive Games (1928-1948) town planning was part of the Olympics, gold medals and all. In the 1932 Games in Los Angeles, John Hughes (me neither) won Gold for GB for ‘Design for a Sports and Recreation Centre with Stadium, for the City of Liverpool’ (solid name, nowadays it would be ‘Project Badger’ or something similarly abstruse). I cannot confirm whether it was actually built (nothing new there perhaps…) but I’m pretty sure the victory was thoroughly well-deserved. And all without the natural advantage of the winners at the following Games (Berlin 1936) where the victorious pair, from Germany, won for the planning of the actual Olympic stadium. So why did the medals stop I hear you cry? Well I’m informed[1] there was concern that the winners would benefit professionally from victory, not of course in the spirit of the Games and its amateur roots. Having said that, every time I switch on the TV at the moment, whether it’s trainers, broadband, cars, watches, credit cards (I could go on), it looks like Usain Bolt is benefitting pretty nicely on the back of being an Olympic champion. In fact the professional benefits seem to be part of the deal nowadays and this therefore begs the question – why not bring it back???I can imagine it now. Team GB’s Planning Team. Bye bye ill-fitting short sleeve shirts and non-ironic hand woven ties… Hello Stella McCartney-designed Adidas tracksuit. Winter training camps in sunnier climes (i.e. the Isle of Wight), being pulled out of committee meetings for random drug tests and arriving at the Olympic Village only to redesign its place-making strategy and scrutinise the cycle parking provision.OK maybe not. But during this Olympic period, why not spare a thought for our forefathers, Olympians in their own right, and wonder what it might be like to go for gold in 2020…“And the gold medal for town planning goes to……”Well, that’ll be Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners of course… 1932 Summer Olympics Gold Medal Anyway, that’s enough daydreaming – I’ve got to finish a CIL calculation for ‘Project Badger’. [1]