It seems it is the season for Judicial Reviews. Milton Keynes City Council, together with other local authorities (not sure if Oxford are listed as claimants) have launched a Judicial Review against the Coalition Government in relation to their proposal to amend the regulations in relation to permitted development for C4 and C3 usage.
As you will be aware, the introduction of a new class on residential property, (C4) by the previous administration, was designed to afford planning authorities greater control of the "Studentification" of neighbourhoods and prevent the intensification of Houses of Multiple Occupation to the detriment of mixed communities. There were some compelling representations to the new Coalition Government (Theresa Donohue letter 20.05.10) raising significant concerns about the viability of the requirement of planning permission to move between the classes.
The new Coalition Government made changes to the Permitted Development Order to allow changes between C3 and C4 usage without permission. This has been challenged by MKCC on the basis that there was insufficient consultation.
One of the things that Milton Keynes Council is pressing for, is an injunction suspending the operation of the order and they are also ultimately seeking that the change be quashed. This would of course mean that planning permission would potentially then be needed for changes from the C3 to C4 use class. The Council is also seeking a change in the legislation to allow them to opt-out of the permitted development order (called an article 4 direction) without the risk of having to pay compensation. Therefore it seems likely that, even if they were to lose the judicial review application, the Council will seek to make an article 4 direction in their area so requiring Milton Keynes landlords to seek planning permission for C4 use.
If they are successful, there can be little doubt that Oxford City will seek similar permissions to invoke an article 4 direction without risk of compensation. It might be prudent for landlords to apply for a certificate of lawful use before the rush!!