Westminster City Council have made an Article 4 Direction to remove Permitted Development Rights (PDR) for office to residential conversions across the Borough. The office to residential PDR came into force in 2013 and was intended to lapse after 3 years however MHCLG have announced that these are to become permanent. The permanent PDR will come into force from May 2019 at which time the blanket exemption for the CAZ falls away.
WCC’s research shows that over 300,000 sqm of office space has been redeveloped or converted in the CAZ since 2010, which WCC state has led to an ‘under-supply of offices, pushing up rents and affecting business activity and competitiveness’. Therefore WCC are seeking to control any change of use from office through the planning process.
As PDR schemes do not have to adhere to standards such as the Nationally Described Space Standards or London Plan a number of units have been allowed which fall significantly below and arguably creating undesirable living standards. Therefore further amendments to the PDR are proposed. Steve Quartermain CBE (Chief Planner at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government) stated in his March Planning Update Newsletter that they ‘intend to review PDR's for conversion of buildings to residential use in respect of the quality of standard of homes delivered’. Regulations are anticipated in two stages, starting in spring 2019. One to consider if you are seeking to proceed forward with a PDR scheme or have an existing approval that will be to be renewed…
Westminster City Council has invoked “Article 4” powers to ban permitted development right schemes.