Sunday, 13 October 2019

Permitted Changes of Use – Seminar bookings extended

The reason you haven’t heard from me for several weeks is that I’ve been up to my eyes in page proofs for the Third Edition of A Practical Guide to Permitted Changes of Use.

When we planned the seminar to launch this new edition, we thought that after three previous seminars in the past four years, not so many people would want to come to yet another seminar, and so we booked the small lecture room (capacity 100) at the I.C.E.

We were wrong, and we had sold out all 100 places by the end of September. The good news, however, is that we have arranged to run the seminar again in the afternoon on the same day, so bookings are now being taken for the afternoon seminar, and we have already taken bookings for more than half the available places in this second session. At the present rate, this second seminar is also likely to sell out, so if you think you might want to come, but haven’t yet booked your place, my advice to you is not to delay - we shan’t be holding a third seminar in the evening!

Just to remind you, the seminar is being held on Thursday 21 November at the Institution of Civil Engineers at One Great George Street, London SW1V 3AA, just round the corner from Parliament Square (nearest tube station: Westminster - 2 minutes’ walk).

Those who are already booked in for the morning seminar need take no action. If you have not yet booked, and would like to come to the afternoon seminar, this will start at 2.00 p.m. (with registration from 1.30) and is timed to finish at around 5.00 p.m., including a mid-afternoon tea break. The charge for this event is a very reasonable £150 +VAT if you book before 31 October, and the price includes a copy of the Third Edition of my book, (both the print & digital versions – a package worth £90 when published), which will be sent to all delegates on publication.

The book is currently at Third Proof stage, and it is a reflection of the important changes to permitted changes of use in the past three years that the page numbering (including the index) now goes up to some 500 pages (compared with a page count of 340 for the Second Edition) – an increase of more than 150 pages, or roughly 45% more material. (And it’s all meaty stuff!)

The seminar will cover those topics that have been the subject of change since the end of 2016 and, as before, there will be a panel discussion at the end to give delegates an opportunity to put questions to the speakers. Professional delegates will be able to claim 2½ hours’ CPD for this event.

The afternoon seminar, like the morning seminar, will also be chaired by Brian Waters, principal of the Boisot Waters Cohen Partnership, the well-known Chair of the London Planning Forum, who was a popular and lively chairman of our previous seminars.

The programme has been slightly adjusted. We are planning a panel-led discussion (both in the morning and in the afternoon seminar) on possible changes to Part 3, in light of criticisms of the standard of housing being produced as a result of residential conversions permitted by the GPDO, when we shall also discuss any other changes that we can foresee in our crystal ball.

We’ve made it extremely easy for you take advantage of the excellent bargain that the discounted package offers. All you need to do is to click on the “Book Now” button below the seminar icon on the left-hand side-bar and then follow the instructions shown. If you want to read more about the seminar first you can find details of the programme and venue or book online on the Bath Publishing website here.



  1. If new legislation on permitted development justifies a 500-page book to explain it to professionals, pity the poor man on the omnibus for whose benefit it is supposed to operate! Whatever happened to simplification of the planning system, eh? Thank goodness I've retired from all this... still enjoy your posts, especially the Brexit rants!

    best wishes

    Graham House

    1. I entirely agree with Graham's sentiments. This subordinate legislation was intended to 'simplify' the planning process to some extent (!!!).

      What has made it necessary to explain the law and procedure at such length in the Third Edition of my book is that the qualifying criteria for permitted changes of use (especially under Class Q) are so convoluted and, to a degree, ambiguous. The government has only complicated matters further by their inept attempts to clarify their intentions in the Planning Practice Guidance. A significant part of the extra material in this Third Edition has inevitably had to be devoted to Class Q, in view of the numerous difficulties it has thrown up in practice. Even experienced practitioners have clearly struggled with this and, as Graham observes, the lay client must be totally and utterly bemused by it all [although I would have to admit that some farmers seem to have hopelessly over-optimistic expectations of the convertibility of some very flimsy structures!]

      As for Brexit, I am just standing back in amazement at the antics of this crazy government. Further comment in the past few weeks has seemed superfluous. Leaving aside the various permutations that are possible in the course of this week, by the time parliament has their say on it next Saturday, I suspect it will boil down to two stark choices - 'Deal' or 'Delay'. Even otherwise loyal Tory backbenchers seem to be turning against 'No Deal', and the government is in any event bound by the 'Benn Act' to apply for a delay if no deal has been approved by parliament by this coming weekend.

      I suspect that we may in practice be heading for a fresh referendum, which will be a choice between a disastrous and chaotic 'No Deal' Brexit and 'Remain'. It may take another few months to resolve this, but this would appear to be the most likely next stage in the never-ending tragi-comedy of Brexit.