Class MA – New Permitted Development Rights for commercial property

21st April 2021

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.

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