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Class E PDRs come into force

Words: Laura Edgar
Restaurants and other Class E premises could be converted under PDRs / iStock-1173786659

Changes to permitted development rights (PDRs) that allow the change of use from commercial, business and service uses (class E) to residential use (C3) in England have come into force.

Class E, which was introduced in September 2020, includes primary offices, restaurants, shops, professional services and light industrial premises.

The government intends for the PDRs to help support the creation of homes while also giving high streets a new lease of life.

The RTPI criticised the PDR at the time it was announced earlier this year.

As the PDR came into force yesterday (1 August), the institute restated its concerns that this right could undermine communities by wiping out essential services for local people.

Victoria Hills, chief executive at the RTPI, said: “The RTPI remains deeply concerned about the further roll-out of permitted development rights.

“Offering landlords the opportunity to convert commercial units into places to live could diminish the vibrancy of our high streets, the importance of which has become apparent during the pandemic.

“Without a place-based planned approach, we also fear that essential local services such as convenience stores, crèches, pharmacies, solicitors and post offices could be wiped out permanently as landlords race to recoup losses accrued during the pandemic in return for higher residential values, impacting those who can least afford to travel and leaving a legacy of unsustainable travel behaviour.

“The RTPI will be closely watching the impacts that come as a result of these changes. We remain clear that a planning policy and a carefully curated place-based strategy is the best way to support a green recovery of high streets and town centres.”

Before the PDRs came into effect, the RTPI suggested that several prior approval matters must be considered, including the impact on the provision of essential services, access to amenities such as parks for outdoor fitness and exercise, the provision of fresh air through ventilation and the quality of design.

Read more:

RTPI denounces controversial PDRs confirmed by the government

Local essential services at risk from permitted development in England

Consultation published on further expansion to PDR

Image credit | iStock