In the Budget small print, George Osborne announced his intention to review the General Permitted Development Order. As part of this, the government will consult on changes to allow more commercial uses, such as warehouses and light industrial buildings, to become homes.
Mark Dodds, head of National Planning and Development at Lambert Smith Hampton, said:
"There isn’t much for the commercial property market to cheer in the Budget, but the possibility of a further relaxation of the rules regarding ‘change of use’ applications will be welcomed by the industry.
500% rise in change of use applications
"The government’s revisions to the administrative process for converting offices into residential accommodation, which came into effect in May 2013, have been widely embraced, with a 500% rise in the the number of change of use applications. Our research reveals that applications for almost 10,000 new residential units were made in just six months.
Create much-needed new homes
"Any extension of the rules to allow a broader range of commercial properties to be converted into residential premises will help to remove obsolete stock from the market whilst also creating much-needed new homes, and so is a ‘win-win’ for everyone."