The UK is in the midst of a serious housing crisis. That’s not news. However, a recent planning rules change could offer developers, agents, investors and consumer buyers the opportunity to create dream homes from former light industrial spaces. Our own data has shown there are more than 700,000 sites in the UK right now with the potential to be developed thanks to this planning rules change to planning law. But there is a time limit on this opportunity – development is not covered after autumn 2020.
Permitted Development Rights were extended as of 1 October 2017 to allow the change of a building in B1c use to residential. B1c use is “light industry appropriate in a residential area,” which could be anything, from a small furniture maker’s factory to a carpenter’s workshop. Cities across the UK have pockets of development where former light industrial buildings are just sitting empty in prime locations. Anything over 500 square metres is not covered by the extension but the limit on size makes this the ideal opportunity for smaller developers and individual consumers.
What you need to know
- Off-market sites may offer the most potential, particularly with respect to cost
- The Permitted Development Rights allow change to the interior of the building but not the exterior
- Existing placement of windows and doors and availability of natural light is key, as these cannot be enlarged or added to without full planning permission
- Soundproofing and thermal insulation may need to be upgraded to residential standards
- Stamp duty is not the same as for residential – above £925,000 it remains at 5%
- Listed buildings are excluded
- The extension of rights applies to existing buildings that are 500 square metres (5,380 sq/ft) or less
- The extension has only three years to run – development after 1 October 2020 won’t be covered
There are a significant number of former light industrial sites all over the UK, from Birmingham, which has more than 2,800 to Cornwall (3,000+), Leeds (2,400+), Hackney (1,100+) and Nottingham (1,400+). From a former woolen mill in Totness, to a paint stripping factory in London, developing these former B1c spaces taps into both the opportunity to make use of empty space and the trend towards industrial conversions for city living.
Nimbus Maps’ data science team has extracted some 700,000 sites from our data pool and prepared a downloadable schedule of information that will give you information on where to find these hot spots. Sign up for a free Nimbus Maps account today and download the schedule for free.
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