Last week’s budget brought an announcement that may have significant implications for the industrial market in the UK relating to a change in planning laws which would give greater flexibility in change of use to residential from industrial use. George Osborne stated there will be a review of the English General Permitted Development Order. This is a new approach to planning permission / change of property usage that comprises a three-tier system:
- permitted development rights for small-scale changes
- prior approval rights for development requiring consideration of specific issues
- planning permission for the largest scale developments
With the UK’s population forecast to continue growing, arguably there is a need for more housing to support this. Already we have seen a significant loss of warehouses to residential and other uses, but as the UK’s population rises not only will this increase the need for housing but it will also put pressure on services in and around cities and this in turn will increase the need for logistics services and warehouses which are pivotal in keeping a city running. Although we do not yet know the future implications of this announcement in terms of the potential loss of industrial/warehouse use, it is crucial to remember the importance of the warehouse in supporting the effective functioning of a town or city. Once it is lost to residential it is gone forever.