The government’s move to delay the announcement to extend permitted development rights for office to residential (Property Week, “Government delays office-
to-resi plans”, 24.07.15), has clearly affected developers like us.
The uncertainty means that some projects will be put on hold until there is clarification over the government’s plans. We have recently completed the purchase of an office that we plan to convert to residential, but that is only because we think that the work can be completed to a high standard by the May 2016 deadline.
Whatever the government’s decision is, it must not slam the door shut. If there are changes in policy, transitional arrangements should be made to enable developers to complete current projects.We therefore believe it reasonable to allow all prior approvals to have the same three-year period in which to complete as other planning consents, irrespective of whether the developments fall within Article 4-designated areas.
Buildings have been purchased in the knowledge that they could be converted into new homes without the need to go through the planning process. If developers are forced to rush through conversions, it is likely to impact the quality of the scheme, which will be of no benefit to anyone.
People are crying out for top quality, well-thought-out homes at a price that is affordable - and that is what we at Weston Homes have always sought to deliver.
Bob Weston, chairman and chief executive, Weston Homes