The Communities and Local Government chief planner, Steve Quartermain, sent a letter to chief planning officers outlining the changes to permitted development in relation to changes between C3 and C4 usage. This brings to an end speculation on the changes Grant Shapps would introduce to prevent an estimated 8000 unnecessary planning applications that might otherwise have clogged up the planning process.
Local authorities can still designate areas under powers available to them through article 4 to require permission for change of use. It is still uncertain that it will ever be worth invoking these powers, however, as should landlords suffer loss as a result, local authorities may be liable for compensation.
It is heartening to know that the CLG department have listened to representation from various quarters; we lobbied strongly on this issue pointing out that law abiding landlords would not buy property to let as an HMO in restricted areas, but the less scrupulous of the breed would still do it any-way. Thus goverment policy would be perceived as promoting the worst kind of landlords to acquire property in sensitive areas.