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15th July 2013

On 30th May the Government introduced new secondary legislation to allow for the change of use from office to residential without the need for planning permission. The changes to the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) allow the change of use to a building that was in office use prior to 30th May, subject to a prior notification to the local authority concerned.

When a notification is submitted, the local authority has 56 days in which to request further details in relation to flood risk, contamination or highways and transportation. It can then determine whether such details are acceptable. Aside from consideration of those matters, the local authority cannot intervene.

The legislation applies across England, except for in seventeen local authorities which were granted an exemption on economic grounds. The exempted areas include parts of Manchester city centre and much of central London.

Upon the legislation coming in to effect, Caroline Chave, Associate Planner in Caulmert’s Codnor office, was straight in to action with the submission of a notification of a change of use from office to residential of a building in Nottingham. Research by national publication Planning magazine has found that Caulmert is amongst the first 5 consultancies in the country to submit such notifications.

Nottingham City Council’s decision was received on 19th July, confirming that their prior approval of the development was not required and, as such, that the development could go ahead. According to Caulmert’s research and information in Planning magazine, Caulmert is the first consultancy in the country to secure a change of use through this process.

This proposed change of use in Nottingham had previously resisted by the Council on amenity grounds. Since the changes to the GPDO do not allow for consideration of amenity, the potential for the building has changed considerably with the changes to the GPDO. Caulmert expects to undertake many further notifications on behalf of clients to unlock the potential in their buildings.

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