Permitted Development: Gove Brings in Class MA Changes

Changes to conversion Permitted Development Rights to be brought in on 5th March 2024.

3/1/20242 min read

concrete buildings
concrete buildings

On the 29th February 2024, Michael Gove and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities made the most of the extra day courtesy of the leap year, by introducing changes to the Class MA Permitted Development Rights.

We have previously written about Class MA and its opportunities for property developers here (click this link for more information). In short it allows for a wide range of commercial properties - such as shops and offices - to be converted into residential uses, subject to limitations and conditions. This new Permitted Development Right was introduced in 2021, and further changes have been made to make it even more appealing to developers.

On the 5th March 2024, two big changes will be introduced to Class MA Permitted Development Rights. Firstly, there will no longer be a need to demonstrate that the building has been vacant for 3 months. In fact the requirement for the building to be vacant at all has been removed. So you can use this powerful Permitted Development Right even if you have a commercial tenant in place. If you achieve approval for a Class MA Permitted Development Right conversion, you have 3-years to complete the works from the date of approval, so if it is a relatively small conversion, you could look to achieve approval to save for a rainy day.

Another change is that the maximum floorspace limitations are being entirely removed from Class MA Permitted Development Rights. Previously, Class MA Permitted Development Rights limited the conversion to a maximum of 1,500sqm, which was a 10-fold increase on its predecessor Class O. The Government consulted on increasing the limit from 1,500sqm to 3,000sqm , but instead decided to remove it all together. As such, from the 5th March 2024, if the building and proposal meets all of the relevant criteria Class MA Permitted Development Rights could be used on a building of any size.

The previous Government consultation (see here) suggested that the Government were looking at removing the restriction for Class MA Permitted Development Rights (and other rights) to not be allowed in Article 2(3) land, which includes National Landscapes (previously known as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty). For now, this restriction remains, but further changes to Permitted Development Rights could come in after the close of the consultation in April 2024.

  • Changes to Class MA Permitted Development Rights were brought in on the 5th of March 2024.

  • Floorspace limit for conversions have been removed.

  • There is no longer a need for the building to be vacant.

  • Other restrictions are still in place for now.

Read our blog post below for more information on these changes and what they mean for your site or portfolio.