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Relaxed planning rules to be made permanent

The process for converting commercial property to residential has become easier, now that temporary planning rules removing the need for planning applications to convert certain types of building have been made permanent.

The rules, which apply to B1 use properties (including offices, research and development premises and light industry) being converted for C3 use (residential housing), were set to end in May 2016. However, they will now be made permanent – much to the relief of commercial landowners and developers.

Removing planning application requirements for converting certain commercial buildings should speed up the regeneration of empty commercial lots. This change to the planning process is intended to go some way towards mitigating the housing crisis, by hopefully making it quicker and easier to bring more residential properties onto the market.

In addition to the existing changes to planning rules, the government has introduced a new three-year limit within which such conversions must be completed.

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