Office Building Conversions – Permitted Development of Class O

Converting shops and offices to residential property.

Permitted Development of Office Buildings and Noise

We have mentioned previously about recent relaxations to planning laws providing permitted development rights in certain circumstances. This has allowed developers to convert commercial buildings such as office blocks to residential property. Our prediction was that this would result in a number of developments taking place on buildings that would expose future occupants to excess noise. That prediction quickly became a reality. However, the government also introduced an amendment to planning legislation that requires planning authorities to consider the impact that noise generated by existing commercial premises will have on the occupants of the proposed conversion. They will now fall under the prior approval process; where the developer notifies the planning authority of their intention to convert.

Premises Licence holders (including pub co’s) are clearly happy with the changes that have been made as they will (in theory) be less likely to encounter complaints post-build; either because the development will not go ahead, go ahead but be designed to mitigate noise impacts. The change will be equally well received by a number of other noise generating businesses used for commercial or industrial purposes.

There has been a condition added that any development of an office building into flats must now take place within 3 years from the prior approval date.

Despite this, I expect that the developments will still take place under a flight-path, sandwiched between a railway and an A-road.

This webpage provides a lot more detail on the subject of permitted development with respect to Class O.

Find out more about permitted development

Interested in finding out more about permitted development? Visit the planning portal or the Government website for more information.