Skip to main content  


National requirements

​Information on national planning policy, Government announcements and consultations, is available from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The National Planning Policy Framework and online Planning Practice Guidance are available from the Government's website.

Change of use from commercial to residential

Permitted development rights for change of use from commercial to residential

In January 2013 the government proposed altering planning law to allow change from offices to housing without the need for planning permission but offered local authorities the option to apply for exemption from these "permitted development" rights. The City was concerned that the reforms would threaten the City's economic role and so applied for a local exemption.

In May 2013 the Secretary of State announced that the City Corporation's application had been accepted and that the whole of the City of London will be exempted.

The City Corporation's local exemption application to the Secretary of State (1.60MB)
Secretary of State's letter (70KB)
Secretary of State's statement
Order exempting the City
Maps accompanying the order

Article 4 Direction

The City Corporation recently consulted on the introduction of a Non-Immediate Article 4 Direction to permanently remove office to residential permitted development rights from 31 May 2019:

Article 4 Direction (683KB)
Article 4 Notice (22KB)
Article 4 Evidence Base (913KB)
Potential Impact of Use Class Order Relaxation (Feb 2018) (360KB)

The Mayor of London has published evidence to support London borough Article 4 Directions, which provides a strategic overview of the need to retain planning control over office to residential development in the City of London and the wider Central Activities Zone:

Strategic evidence to support Article 4 office to residential

The consultation period has now ended. If you have any further comments or questions, please send them to:

or write to:

Development Plans Team
Department of the Built Environment
City of London Corporation
PO Box 270
London EC2P 2EJ

08 November 2013
Last Modified:
09 April 2018