Temporary permitted development rights were introduced for the first time in 2013. They have since enabled scores of offices around the country to be converted into residential buildings without the need for planning permission.
This has meant that developers have been free to convert underused or vacant commercial spaces into new homes without the usual complications. This was certainly popular with the development industry, as between April 2014 and June 2015 it was responsible for approximately 4,000 conversions.
Permitted development rights were scheduled to expire on 30 May 2016. However, as of 13 October 2015, permitted development rights have been made permanent.
Permanent permitted development rights now include demolition
The plans were announced by Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis. He hopes the decision will provide much-needed new homes, make better use of existing buildings and protect the green belt.
Lewis also said that office-to-residential permitted development rights will include the demolition of existing office buildings to construct new residential buildings.
Now that permitted development rights have been made permanent and more accessible, there will be less uncertainty for many developers. However some developments may require prior approval and although the statutory requirements relating to prior approval are less intensive than with planning applications, it could cause delays that incur extra costs.
How vacant property security can help office-to-residential conversions
Whether a developer is waiting for a building to be demolished, refurbishment to be completed or to find a new tenant, vacant property security companies can help to keep their costs down.
Unoccupied buildings can invite a host of potential issues that cannot be effectively solved by the presence of static security guards or CCTV. Issues like metal theft, vandalism, fly tipping and even squatting can make any building conversion more time consuming and costly than it should be.
Property guardian services like those of Oaksure Property Protection – a company that has worked on office-to-residential conversions in the past and continues to provide security to large construction schemes across the capital – can ensure a higher level of security than the aforementioned methods. For example, due to the fact that property guardians occupy their assigned property, the occupied property gains legal protection against squatters.
Furthermore, property guardians perform regular patrols and reports. This means that all occupied property utilities are kept in good working order and that each property remains as marketable as possible.
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