BRITAIN’S property industry welcomed news yesterday that planning rules may be relaxed to allow more commercial buildings to be turned into homes, in an effort to tackle the housing shortage.
New rules were already introduced last year allowing offices to be converted into homes without going through a lengthy planning application process.
However in his Budget speech yesterday, George Osborne said that the government will consult on extending these rules to include warehouses and light industrial buildings as well.
“The possibility of a further relaxation of the rules regarding change of use applications will be welcomed by the industry,” Mark Dodds, property firm Lambert Smith Hampton’s head of national planning and development.
He added that applications for conversions to residential use had risen 500 per cent since the changes were introduced last May.
“Any extension of the rules...will help to remove obsolete stock from the market whilst also creating much-needed new housing, and so is a win-win for everyone,” he said.
The chancellor also announced that the government will look at how to simplify the planning system by reviewing the so-called General Permitted Development Order.
It is considering introducing a system comprising of three different levels of planning permission for schemes depending on their size.