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working from home - new planning legislation changes

30 May 2013

Controversial changes to planning legislation come into force today.

The changes allow offices to be converted to homes without planning permission. Opinions on the proposals generally are mixed.

17 areas have been exempted from the changes. 11 of these are in London (where residential values are higher than offices), some in Manchester, but there are no exemptions in Birmingham or Leeds.

Other considerations to bear in mind: impact on the highways and transport network, flooding and contamination issues for which approval may be required; development of listed buildings is not permitted; changes to external features will still require planning permission; there are legal implications such as user covenants.

Whilst arguably the changes create some interesting opportunities there are still hurdles to jump and it remains to be seen whether the changes will actually achieve their purpose of relieving the administrative burden and delivering an increase in housing supply.

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