Freedom to re-use property: A fiscal give-away?

Principal Investigator:

John Henneberry


Peter Bibby, Richard Dunning and Paul Brindley


The project covers development activity where the need for planning permission is obviated by: (a) ‘change of use’ provisions in the GPDO, Part 3; (b) other GPDO provisions; (c) use of (local) development orders; (d) extended use of development orders based on new legislation; or (e) circumvented by small scale adaptive adjustments to existing buildings. Estimates will be made of the nature and extent of such development in England since 2001, and of the enhanced private values and net additional public / social costs resulting.

The work will have three main parts:

  1. Literature reviews and telephone interviews with expert practitioners - to identify the costs and benefits (relating to hard / soft infrastructure, fiscal changes and externalities) arising from the different types of such development.
  2. Combined analysis of (i) the Post Code Address File (PAF; using natural language interpretation in Prolog) to identify the flow of new addresses; and (ii) the Land Use Change Statistics (LUCS) to identify the flow of new construction; to (iii) produce estimates of such development under different assumptions.
  3. Application of 1 to 2 using total economic value and benefits transfer approaches within a cost benefit analysis (CBA) framework.

The results will provide a platform for an informed discussion of the economic consequences of the significant expansion of permitted and adaptive development activity prompted by the Government’s relaxation of planning restrictions. These initiatives will also affect the way that we collectively (through the decisions of developers, occupiers, infrastructures providers, planners and so on in the private and public sectors and the community) supply and manage development and the facilities and services that it requires.


RICS Education Trust