Goodwin Developments is on site converting Grove House in Old Trafford

Office-to-resi PDR extended

Developers have welcomed the Government’s decision to extend permitted development rights to convert office buildings to residential without having to apply for planning permission.

The move was contained in yesterday’s Housing & Planning Bill. PDR was due to finish for office-to-resi in May 2016.

Stephen Beech, managing director of Manchester-based developer Beech Properties, which specialises in office-to-resi conversion, said the policy extension was “great news for the people and businesses of Manchester.”

Manchester-based Goodwin Developments is on site with three schemes under PDR in Bradford, Liverpool and Trafford.

Richard Goodwin, managing director of Goodwin Developments, said: “We’re delighted with the extension as we have 300 units going through at the moment under PDR and would be hopeful of securing further work in this area in the future.”

Areas of Manchester city centre will still be exempt from PDR, requiring full planning permission for such schemes. This will be reviewed in 2019.

Bernadette McQuillan, director of planning and development at advisor CBRE Manchester, said: “We welcome the Government’s proposal to extend the office to residential permitted development rights. Whilst we have seen little example of this being carried out in the North West market we welcome any measures to increase the supply of much needed housing. An interesting move in the Bill is the proposed permitted development for the demolition of office buildings and their replacement with residential development. We eagerly await further detail on how this process will be managed by Local Authorities however it should produce should interesting opportunities.  Further changes announced included permitted development rights to enable the change of use of light industrial buildings and launderettes to residential use.  Whilst we also welcome this change we believe there will be limited examples of where this could be applicable and welcome a wider review of the provision of residential development.”

Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis said the “measures will mean we can tap into the potential of underused buildings to offer new homes for first-time buyers and families long into the future, breathing new life into neighbourhoods and at the same time protecting our precious green belt.”

Lewis: “First introduced in 2013, temporary permitted development rights have enabled offices to be converted to new homes without having to apply for planning permission. It has meant that between April 2014 and June this year, almost 4,000 conversions were given the go-ahead.”

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