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Hot Topic Highlight – Class MA Permitted Development Right



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What is today's blog about?


In today’s blog, we look at the new Class MA permitted development (PD) right.


This is essential reading for RICS APC Planning & Development candidates, as well as any candidates involved in advising clients on planning and potential uses for commercial premises.


What are PD rights?


PD rights allow certain types of development to be carried out without full planning consent being granted. This could, for example, facilitate certain changes of use.


PD rights are generally limited (by Article 4 directions) in certain areas such as Conservation Areas, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).


Where PD rights are available, prior approval is still generally required which allows the Local Planning Authority to consider the proposals, impacts and mitigation measures in relation to factors such as transport, parking, flooding, contamination and noise.


What does MA stand for?


MA stands for Mercantile to Abode. Class MA is, therefore, a PD right set out under the General Permitted Development Order (GDPO).


When does the new Class MA PD right apply from?


1 August 2021.


What is the new MA PD right?


Class MA creates a PD right from Use Class E to Use Class C3 Residential. This will essentially help to increase the supply of housing by revitalising redundant commercial stock (commonly located in high street locations).


What is Use Class E?


Use Class E encompasses retail shops, cafes, restaurants, financial & professional services, indoor sport and fitness, medical or health services, creches, day nurseries, day centres, offices, research & development and light industry.


Are there any restrictions on the Class MA PD right?


Yes, these include:

  • The requirement to apply for prior approval

  • The Use Class E building must have been vacant for a continuous period of at least 3 months prior to the application for prior approval (i.e., no tenants in occupation for this period)

  • The Use Class E building must have been in this use for a continuous period of at least 2 years prior to the application for prior approval

  • The cumulative floorspace of the building must be less than 1,500 sq m

  • The building and site cannot be part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), be listed, a scheduled monument, a safety hazard area or a military explosives area

  • The building cannot be within an AONB or within other site-specific designations


How can we help?


Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you.


N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.