From 1 October 2017, amendments to the General Permitted Development Order (as amended) will come into force which relate to the conversion of light industrial premises to residential uses.
A new Class of permitted development (Class PA) is to be created that will allow the residential conversion of premises that have been in light industrial use (Use Class B1c), although there will only be a limited window of opportunity within which this can be done and, unsurprisingly, there are a range of criteria which must be met.
Firstly, Class PA is only applicable to applications received on or after 1 October 2017, for which prior approval is granted before 1 October 2020. Development must then be completed within 3 years of the prior approval date.
Upon requesting the prior approval notice, the applicant must demonstrate that the change of use will not have a detrimental impact on existing uses which are in close proximity, as well as address other factors including impact on highways, flood risk, noise and land contamination before any prior approval is issued.
A further requirement is that the building must have been in use solely for light industrial purposes on 20th March 2014, or if not in use on that date, the building must have been in light industrial use when it was last occupied.
Importantly the cumulative floorspace of the building must not exceed 500sqm and there are restrictions for listed buildings, Scheduled Monuments and other protected sites.
If the above hurdles can be cleared, there may be residential opportunities in longstanding employment areas where LPAs have resisted any change of use in the past.