A fair proportion of the rather older and more dated office stock in Basingstoke is now likely to be converted to residential use under Permitted Development Rights (PD Rights). Consequently supply will diminish – no bad thing at a time when there remains a considerable imbalance between demand and supply in the local office sector.
PD Rights were first set out in planning legislation backdating to 1995. Essentially they are a national grant of planning permission which allows certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a full planning application. In 2013 the legislation was extended by the Government to allow change of use from B1 offices to Class C3 residential – the idea being to increase the supply of new homes whilst reducing stocks of existing office buildings.
As a result, a number of residential developers are now looking at conversion schemes for the first time, not only in Basingstoke, but also in other markets where apartments are perceived as being in good demand.
BDT are now offering Wolverton House in London Street, Basingstoke (see below), to the PD Rights market on behalf of our client, Threadneedle. Whilst the 5,800 office building has been fully refurbished, the lack of parking and the poor demand for offices has resulted in its continued availability. Threadneedle have therefore decided to sell their freehold interest and have secured PD Rights to convert the building for use as 12 one and two bedroom apartments. The strategy and guide price of £525,000 has attracted early interest and offers, despite the fact that a number of other buildings in and around the town centre are likely to be targeted for similar purposes.
These conversion schemes need to have been completed by May 2016, under the current legislative guidelines, so there is a relatively short window available for developers to purchase and complete the conversion. The good news is that a lot of the older, more redundant or under-parked vacant office buildings will be removed from the supply ‘stats’, ultimately having a bearing on the supply and demand equation. Furthermore, these buildings have found an alternative use rather then simply sitting vacant and idle, to nobody’s benefit.
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