In addition to the radical Residential Permitted Development Rights granted in 2013, a number of new permitted development rights for England have been introduced by the Government. This allows for certain changes of use to be made without recourse to planning and took affect from 6th April 2014.
Subject to certain criteria the new PDR's allow for:
* Conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use if no more than 450 sqm in size
* Conversion of A1 retail and A2 units to residential use if less than 150 sq.m
* Change of use of A1 retail to a bank, building society, credit union or friendly society
Although, in certain circumstances the Local Authority have to be advised of changes this reflects the new "light touch" approach to planning permission and could open up a host of possibilities for owners and developers alike. As with all such matters you should seek professional advice before proceeding.