Planning Changes for Commercial Property

A recent BBC article has revealed government plans for changing the rules on converting existing commercial property into residential property.

Under current planning rules a property developer would need planning permission for ‘change of use’ from commercial to residential.  In the past, this has been notoriously difficult to obtain as local authorities seek to protect employment generating commercial property.  However, with an increasing amount of commercial property both remaining empty, and subject to defaulting commercial finance, it appears that the government is attempting to cut planning red tape and boost provision of housing to ease the national shortage of homes.

The BBC reports that this announcement is due in tomorrow’s Budget and as with many budget announcements the devil will be in the detail.  Potential developers will be keen to know the parameters of this new legislation and more specifically, what type of commercial property can be converted?  The BBC reports that the changes will not include shops, and we suspect that most property where there is a realistic chance of sustaining employment would be excluded from the changes.  However, it seems that empty properties in the right location may be ripe for residential development.  Please check our website for an update when the details have been released and analysed.

Hughes Paddison has a long track record of working with property developers on projects ranging from town houses and flats to barn conversions.  If you require expert advice on property development please contact Julie Hughes ( or Doug Armstrong ( on 01242 574244.