Permitted Development Rights – Light Industrial to Residential Use

Recently we have witnessed the introduction of a number of new permitted development rights to change use of buildings to dwellings in an effort to boost housing supply.  So far, we have seen permitted development to allow the change of use of agricultural buildings, offices and storage buildings to residential dwellings.

From 1 October 2017 Class PA comes into force which allows for the change of use of a building from light industrial to residential use.

Class PA permits 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) to use falling within Class C3 (dwelling houses).

As with previous permitted development provisions certain conditions apply.  For example, development will not be permitted if the building was not used for light industrial use on or before 19 March 2014, if the gross floor space exceeds 500 m² or if the building is listed or within the curtilage of a listed building.

If the building meets the above criteria, an application for approval can be submitted to the Local Authority for determination.  Approval has to be sought by the 1 October 2020 since the new right is available for an initial period of three years.  The Local Authority will consider various matters such as transport and highway impacts and whether the increase of residential use would have an impact upon sustainability of services.

The Local Authority has 56 days from the date of the application in which to notify the applicant of Approval. Development is able to proceed if the Local Authority fails to notify the applicant within this specified period.

It should be noted that unlike Class Q, the new rights also apply in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Farm buildings, especially former agricultural buildings, may have been in B1(c) light industrial use without a formal planning consent.  Therefore, it may be necessary to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness initially to prove that the building has had light industrial use before applying to benefit from permitted development rights under the new Class PA.

If you think that any of your buildings may have potential for a change of use, please speak to Frank Smith at Frank Smith & Co on 01242 801748 or visit our website at

Comments are closed.