DCLG figures reveal take-up of office-to-residential PD rights

Councils refused one fifth of applications to convert offices into homes made under new controversial permitted development rights, according to official figures released today which give the first insight into the uptake of the new rules.

Office conversion: DCLG has released 'experimental' figures showing uptake of new rules
Office conversion: DCLG has released 'experimental' figures showing uptake of new rules

The "experimental" data published today by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), shows that of the 1,068 decisions on applications for prior approval for office to residential conversions in the second quarter of 2014, 203 (19 per cent) were refused.

Prior approval was not required in 402 instances (37.6 per cent), according to the figures, and a further 463 applications for prior approval were granted permission (43.4 per cent), the statistics show.

According to an analysis of the figures (see table below), nine London boroughs feature in a list of the 10 districts to have decided the most office to residential prior approval applications in the second quarter of 2014.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames both made 43 decisions, the figures show, followed by Hammersmith and Fulham (28) and Camden, Croydon and Lambeth, which each decided 23 such applications.

Brighton and Hove, which decided 21 office to residential prior approval applications, was the only district outside London to feature in the top 10.

But according to Planning's analysis of the figures, 119 district authorities did not decide any office-to-residential prior approval applications between April and June 2014.



The figures also give the first indication of the extent of the uptake of new permitted development rights for householders introduced in May 2013, which increased the size limits allowed for single storey rear extensions.

The figures reveal that district authorities decided more than 7,500 applications for prior approval for larger householder extensions between April and June 2014. Of these, only 14.7 per cent were refused, according to the statistics.

An analysis of the figures shows that the London Borough of Hounslow decided 376 prior approval applications for larger householder extensions in the second quarter of 2014, more than any other district. In second place was the London Borough of Redbridge (307), followed by the London Borough of Hillingdon (267) and the London Borough of Ealing (211).



Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis said: "Today's figures show how thousands of homeowners are now able to make improvements to their properties without having to negotiate excessive red tape and bureaucracy.

"On top of this, offices that once stood empty have been transformed to help deliver much-needed new homes for communities while maintaining green belt protections."


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