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News Release


Changing from Office to Residential

The Reality

Jason WebbSouthampton, 3rd September – Since The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 came into force on the 30th May 2013, Jason Webb, Director of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Office Agency team in Southampton has been researching the effect of this legislation on Southampton’s available office supply . The total availability of office space in Southampton currently stands at circa 670,000sq ft, and to date, 134,000sq ft is subject to a prior approval applications to qualify for the change of use to residential under permitted development. This represents 20% of the available stock.

This Order that provides for the ability to move from Class B1 (a) office to Class C3 residential without the need to obtain planning permission is aimed at meeting housing needs which are perceived as being of paramount importance. The Government firmly believes that this intervention to relax the process of office-to-residential conversions will provide a real opportunity to contribute to these needs.

The provision only applies for a three year period and the use must commence no later than 30th May 2016. In reality this means that conversion works will have had to have started earlier. If there is any doubt about whether the permitted development provisions apply to a particular building a developer can apply to the LPA for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Jason Webb further commented: “Given the amount of applications that have been made so far, the council will need to seriously consider the ongoing impact this will have on the available office supply in Southampton. Whilst it seems that so far it is only the poorer quality buildings that are being put forward for residential, such an unprecedented and dramatic decrease in supply could have serious implications for the long term health of the local economy."