The government is carrying out consultation until 15 October on allowing certain additional changes of use without having to make a planning application. These are:
- Change of use and associated works from small shop or professional/financial services (A1 and A2 uses) to residential use (C3). These would be likely to be in secondary locations rather than main retail areas and would not apply in conservation areas, National Parks or AONBs. The maximum size would be 150 sq m and would permit a single house or up to four flats. There would be a prior approval regime for design, local character, economic impact and the need to maintain essential local services such as post offices.
- Change of use from retail use (A1) to change to a bank or a building society.
- Change of use and associated works from existing agricultural buildings to residential use (C3). This would permit up to three additional houses or flats on an agricultural unit with a maximum size of 150 sq m for house. The work necessary could include demolition and rebuild on the same footprint. This would be subject to prior approval of siting and design, highway and noise impact, and contamination and flood risks. The right would be available in conservation areas, National Parks and AONBs.
- Change of use of offices (B1), hotels (C1), residential (C2 and C2A), non-residential institutions (D1), and leisure and assembly (D2) to nurseries providing childcare.
- Change of use of agricultural building up to 500 sq m to a new state funded school or nursery providing childcare.
If past performance is anything to go by, these rights are likely to be brought in and using them will not be straight forward. However, if such rights are introduced, there should be new opportunities for many land owners.