Surprise as government fails to announce extension of office-to-residential

The Government has delayed making a decision over whether to extend office-to-residential permitted development rights beyond the current deadline of next May.

It had been expected that ministers would make an announcement confirming an extension before the Parliamentary recess.

The temporary right allows developers to convert offices into homes without having to apply for planning permission.

Introduced by the coalition government in May 2013 for three years, the current government had been expected to announce an extension until 2020.

However, a number of councils have complained that their office stock is at risk of being over-depleted.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “Office to residential is a useful tool that in most places, although not necessarily all, can breathe life into under-used buildings and help use space much more productively.

“We are currently working with government to ensure that any extension is applied in a sensible and proportionate way.”

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