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Conversion of Light Industrial B1C to Residential Use

As of 1st October 2017 a new class of permitted development rights came into place to enable the conversion of light industrial units (Use Class B1c) to residential use (Use Class 3).   This form of permitted development will benefit existing light industrial units, which are generally considered as small-medium sized businesses which can operate successfully in residential areas without being a detriment to the neighbouring area.   Examples include small workshops, repair workshops and similar non intensive enterprises.

As a landowner you may wish to take advantage of exploring the value of your building within the framework of the new Permitted Development Rights.

Things to consider 

The new PD rights won’t apply to all light industrial buildings.   Those located in certain protected areas, or form part of a protected curtilage are unlikely to be eligible for residential conversion under Class PA.   Sites which are exempt include;

  • The existing floor space of the building exceeds 500 square metres.
  • The site forms part of a site of special scientific interest (SSSI)
  • The site is occupied under an agricultural tenancy, unless consent is given by both landlord and tenant
  • If the building forms part of a safety hazard area or military explosives storage area, permitted development rights will not apply
  • Local authorities may also impose Article 4 directions to remove the PD rights in certain areas.   Local authorities have had a lengthy period of time to consider those sites that may fall into this category so this information should be easily accessible from the relevant Local Authorities.

Are External Alterations Required? 

  • Permitted development rights only apply where no external alterations are required to the building.
  • If external alterations are required to enable the conversion, i.e. window positions, cladding etc, planning permission will be required for those works.

If you think you have a site that falls into this category and would like to explore the development potential, then please get in touch.

For more detailed information on the process, please visit Planning Portal


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Author: Kevin Ellis

Our company was established in 2014 by Kevin, who previously ran a highly-successful development department for an award-winning property services business. Today, he has grown Thomas Mae into a thriving business, staffed by a trusted team of property consultants who are adept at sharing their knowledge and skills. Kevin’s mission is to foster strategic land investment, to deliver solid, profitable results across the whole of the UK, and to work effectively with both private landowners as well as commercial and institutional landowners.

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