DCLG gives approval for Brighton office-to-residential exemption

Out-Law News | 29 Jul 2014 | 5:27 pm | 1 min. read

Developers will be unable to convert office buildings into homes in three areas of Brighton and Hove without first obtaining planning permission from the local authority, after the government agreed to allow an exemption from rules automatically permitting such conversions.

The government introduced rights in May 2013 allowing office space to be converted to homes without the need for planning permission from local authorities. Brighton and Hove Council made an 'Article 4 direction' in July 2013 to remove these permitted development rights in three areas of the borough and applied to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for approval of the direction, to allow it to be brought into force.

In a letter to the Council dated 22 July 2014 (3-page / 2.1 MB PDF) the DCLG did not request any changes to the areas to be exempted under the direction, but asked that the direction be modified to exclude from the exemption any office premises that had already secured planning approval prior to the direction coming into force on 25 July.

The three areas for which planning permission will be required for office-to-residential use conversion under the Article 4 direction (9-page / 2.1 MB PDF) are an area of central Brighton around Brighton Station and extending to the seafront; a block in the Edward Street Quarter including local landmark Amex House, the European headquarters of American Express; and City Park in Hove.

The government has previously criticised local authorities' use of Article 4 directions to prevent office-to-home conversions, accusing a "small minority of town halls" of trying to undermine permitted development reforms in a statement in February and blocking Islington Council's use of a direction earlier in July.

Brighton and Hove Council's approved direction came into force on 25 July.