Will the recent relaxations in the Use Classes Order help commercial agents, such as my firm Andrew Idle Associates, to let vacant space in Bradford?
Despite the Coalition Government’s pledge to cut red tape, the revisions to the Use Classes Order as just published still give too little flexibility I feel, with regard to the re-letting of vacant commercial premises.
Why for example can you only utilise 500 sq metres for storage within a 5000 sq metre light industrial building, without needing to apply for B8 planning? Why couldn’t it have been expressed as a maximum of say 35% of the floor area so as to give some consideration to larger units?
Another example is that although there is no need for planning consent to create a single flat above a shop, you still require planning for two flats.
Given that some shops have in excess of 100 sq metres ground floor area, this again seems to be needlessly restrictive.
On the positive side, it is good to see licensed establishments (A4) being permitted to change to retail (A1)or sales office (A2) or restaurant (A3) without planning. With so many pubs closing down, this is welcome news for those agents who are tasked with disposing of them.
Investors need to bear in mind however that building regulations approval may still be required for some of these changes and it is prudent to seek advice.