Category Archive: Commercial

Class MA – New Permitted Development Rights for commercial property

From Sunday 1st August 2021, new Permitted Development (PD) Rights will allow owners of unused commercial buildings to consider conversion to residential use.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government published an announcement on 31st March 2021 detailing a series of new initiatives to support high streets as they not only navigate their way out of the pandemic and also in reaction to the longer-term challenges that have been increasing in the retail market.

Known as Class MA, the new rights will apply but be subject to the following criteria:

  • the building will need to have been unoccupied for a period of three months prior to an application
  • space must not be more than 1,500m²
  • the building must have been in Class E (commercial, business and service) use for at least a period of two years

An application submitted to a Local Authority would be considered for the following criteria:

  • Flooding
  • Impacts of noise from commercial premises
  • Provision of adequate natural light to all habitable rooms
  • Specifically within Conservation Areas the consideration of the impact of the loss of the ground floor commercial, business and service use
  • Impact of the loss of health centres and registered nurseries on the provision of such local services

It should be noted that Class MA cannot be used within:

  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • National Parks
  • World Heritage Sites
  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • Listed Buildings
  • Scheduled Monuments
  • Safety Hazard Zones
  • Military Explosive Areas

Where a property meets the appropriate requirements and is not within any of the exclusion zones then any application submitted to a Local Authority must be judged within 56 days and if granted works must be undertaken within a period of three years.

If you are a commercial property owner and would like to discuss the options for your portfolio contact our Development team on 0333 920 2220.

Online Mediation

On 25th January 2021, HHJ Philip Kramer (specialist civil judge in the Business and Property Courts of Newcastle upon Tyne (BPC)) hosted the 12th Business and Property Court Forum event via Zoom. Such events have become a regular feature of North East business and legal community since its launch in June 2018. Customarily they are held as in-person events with an opportunity for networking followed by a topical presentation on a range of legal subjects which are a feature of the business conducted in the BPC.

Since the COVID-19  pandemic, we have successfully transitioned the events online which have allowed the continuous programme to run and have actually engaged with a much wider audience in higher numbers and beyond legal professionals across more industries and sectors so that it can genuinely be said that the forum has fulfilled its vision of appealing to businesses as well.

The focus of the evening was online mediation and three speakers delivered presentations.

In his session, Andrew Entwistle from George F. White highlighted the key reasons for engaging with experts in online mediations and outlined the benefits that experts can bring to help create successful outcomes for the parties to mediations.

Andrew Cawkwell from Manolete Partners PLC provided a negotiator’s perspective in connection with online mediation including practical experience derived from many online mediations that the insolvency litigation third-party funder has carried out since March 2020. The talk focussed on key tips to be successful in online mediation such as advanced preparation and considering the pros and cons of the same as well as things to remember both in advance of and on the day of the mediation itself.

Rob Langley provided the Mediator’s perspective. His illuminating presentation provided the audience with some very practical guidance on online mediation. He stressed the importance of meetings online with the Mediator beforehand, to test that the technology was working, to build the relationship with the Mediator, and to “acclimatise” to the online format.

The speakers’ presentations can be found by clicking here.

The session concluded with the speakers providing answers to a number of questions posed by our live audience. Such was the interest level in the topic of online mediation that 235 delegates had signed up before the event. A really insightful poll was launched to our audience towards the end of the event and the following results were delivered in real-time which indicated that 93% would consider online mediation after lockdown. The poll result highlighting the importance of online mediation as a format to resolve legal disputes and underpinning that it is a form of ADR which is very much here to stay.

If you would like more information on how we can help with dispute resolution or mediation call 0333 920 2220.

George F. White Makes Multiple Hires and Promotions in Push for Growth

A leading North East property consultancy has expanded its 70+ strong team with the recruitment of seven roles over the last five months as well as three graduates becoming fully qualified chartered surveyors in the last week.

George F. White is experiencing strong growth following the recent launch of a new office, with a fully serviced team, in Durham and partner appointment of Andrew Creighton as head of commercial.

Robyn Peat, managing partner at George F. White, said: “Despite the pandemic-induced challenges, the business has grown steadily this year and we’ve continued to expand our vast range of property, planning and development services, to help meet specific client needs”.

“The team has grown by 10% in the last five months, we’ve taken on a range of new clients in sectors such as architecture, farm business and commercial, and we’ve opened a new office in Durham due to increased demand in the area for housing, planning and farming advice.”

Development surveyor Rhys Jones, commercial surveyor Victoria Huntley and Ellie Exelby, a rural surveyor, are now fully qualified RICS Chartered Surveyors who bring a diverse mix of skills to the consultancy reflecting the expansion of the range of services provided by George F. White.

Jones and Huntley are based in George F. White’s Newcastle office, but operate across the region, and Exelby works out of the consultancy’s Yorkshire office.

Peat added: “It’s great to see Ellie, Rhys and Victoria become qualified surveyors; our record with APC students is something I am very proud of and I look forward to them continuing to develop and grow within the business. They bring to the business the kind of specialist skills we need as we continue to bolster our presence in the region and beyond”.

“While we offer a vast range of diverse and structured consultancy support, it’s also vital to provide specific expertise in each of these areas too”.
“It’s what our clients deserve, and expect, in a turbulent environment with ever changing legislation and regulations.

“We’re here to inform, advise and guide businesses to help them weather some of the toughest conditions they’ll ever experience, and create opportunity at a time of adversity.”

To talk to our team please call 0333 920 2220.

The Future of the Property Market


2020 has been a year of uncertainty in many ways and that includes those in the property market. Whether you are buying or selling your home, a residential or commercial landlord or your interests lie within the rural sector you will no doubt be considering what lies ahead for the property market.

Join our panel of experts at 4:00pm on Wednesday 9th December as they share their thoughts on the future of the property market. For more details and to register click here.