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Hidden opportunities - industrial properties could have residential development potential

Owners of industrial properties should be aware that a little known change in the national planning regulations could mean that industrial properties will have lucrative development opportunities. On October 1st 2017, a new class of permitted development rights came into place to enable the conversion of light industrial units (use class B1c) to residential (use class 3).

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This form of permitted development will benefit existing light industrial units, which are generally considered as small-medium sized businesses which can operate successfully in residential areas without being a detriment to the neighbouring area. Examples of these types of business include small workshops, repair workshops and similar non-intensive enterprises.

Humberts Head of Land and New Homes, Adam Phelps, says: “The recent regulation changes mean that owners of these light industrial units can explore the residential potential of their building which for many would not have previously been possible. At Humberts we’re already helping a number of owners to recognize the value of their assets.”

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The new Permitted Development rights won’t apply to all light industrial buildings. Those located in certain protected areas, or form part of a protected curtilage are unlikely to be eligible for residential conversion under Class PA.


- The existing floor space of the building exceeds 500 square metres.
- The site forms part of a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
- The site is occupied under an agricultural tenancy, unless consent is given by both landlord and


Permitted development rights only apply where no external alterations are required to the building. If external alterations are required to enable the conversion, i.e. window positions, cladding etc., planning permission will be required for those works.

If you think you have a site that falls into this category and would like to explore the development potential, then please get in touch with our Land and New Homes team on: landandnewhomes@humberts.com or by phone: 0207 594 4749.

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