The Government proposed in December 2020 new permitted development rights to allow buildings included in its newly-created Class E in town centres, such as shops, offices, banks, other financial institutions, lawyers, architects, accountants, Post Offices, creches, day centres and indoor sports facilities and gyms, to convert to housing without needing planning permission.
On 31st March 2021 the Government issued a press statement announcing new planning laws which introduce most of the proposed changes but with more limits and conditions for prior approval. Those were in a report on the responses it had received, its comments on them and the new rules.
They include a Class MA in the General Permitted Development Order, granting deemed planning permission for change of use from commercial and business use (Class E) to residential (Class C3) from 1st August 2021.
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee has commenced an inquiry into the impact and affects of permitted development and seeks responses to its questions by Friday 30th April 2021. Civic and community societies should respond.
London Forum’s critical response to the original consultation was submitted as here and a letter was sent to the Secretary of State about the proposals. There is a blog by Jennie Baker for Lichfields which gives comprehensive details about the new Use Class MA and another by Martin Goodall here. Comments by Zack Simons and Joey Gardiner are here.
These proposals, as with existing permitted development, take away the full ability of Councils and their communities to control what happens and where. It could result in serious harm to district and town centres.

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